October can be an exciting time for many, with autumn being in full swing, cooler temperatures comforting us after a long hot summer, apple and pumpkin picking back in in action, and Halloween festivities underway. However, for college students, all those pumpkin scented candles can’t hide the inevitable truth. Midterms have arrived. Midterms separate the successful from the stragglers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all dread them. They creep up on you like the villain in a cheesy horror flick. As frightening as they can be, some people, like me, have consistently scored exceptionally well on midterms because we follow a strict set of guidelines when we study. I’m not going to reveal all of my secrets because I love being a little mysterious, but I will share two tricks I use that definitely improves my testing scores. Sorry everyone! If you wanted a treat, I’m only giving out tricks today.
I know we all do it. We procrastinate by binge watching Netflix, and then open up the books 6 hours before an exam and start to study. According to Thomas H. Mentos, author of The Human Mind, by cramming, 100% of the material you study will be stored in short-term memory, but only 20% will move on to your long-term memory. Recalling information is not the same as recognizing information, and this difference is incredibly apparent when taking an exam that does not have multiple choice answers. On top of that, many students try to cram the night before an exam, and they’ll lose a good night’s rest over it. UCLA published a study that shows that students who forfeit sleep over cramming were more likely to do worse than those who got a good night’s sleep. Instead of cramming, take it day by day. Develop a plan on how you are going to go about studying., The information will be much more useful later in life once you have to apply your knowledge to your career, so you don’t want to forget it.
STUDY THE REVIEW INSIDE AND OUT
Most professors will give you some type of study packet or review plan for a midterm or a final. Some will even give it to you and tell you to do it if you want because it’s not graded. You should ABSOLUTELY do any review the professor provides. The questions will have the same concepts your midterm will likely have, and some professors are so lazy that they even put the same exact questions with a very slight twist, like different numbers, or different scenario, same answer. These reviews are great if you want to develop a study plan, but don’t know how to go about it, because it’ll give you structure, and it will help guide in the right direction of what you should be studying so that you’re not wasting time reading materials or practicing problems that aren’t going to show up on the midterm.
If you haven’t thought about trying these tricks that I mentioned above, it wouldn’t hurt to see if they work for you. I want anyone who works hard and smart to be able to ace their midterms this semester! Good luck, and study smart.