Typically, during this time of the year, we tend to get busy in the normal routine of a college student’s life.

Most of us will be preparing for the mid-term examinations this week. For those on accelerated courses, the first seven-week session ends this week as well (meaning, their final exams are happening sometime this week).

I have three exams and one test in these upcoming 2 weeks. I have also been very busy this semester, trying to balance school life with my personal life with my professional commitments. I have learned that sometimes, you have to take time out for yourself and learn to say no. Balancing studies with everything else can be very trying, but that is not to say that it cannot be done. Our learning experience shapes our willingness to learn — if you already know something, you have to put minimal effort into studying for an exam or a test. But if you don’t review and revise, you are in danger of falling in the trap of being underprepared.

Before I share 3 study tips for your midterm examinations, the question is: why bother? Midterms do sound like an incompletely conceived concoction designed to get students into the test-taking mode. The answer is, midterms are a great way to catch up on the points you have lost in your quizzes, tests, or homework assignments. Should you make a strong enough showing at your midterms, you have little to worry about final examinations. The more time you invest in your midterms, the less time is required to play catch-up to your grades. With that being said, let me maintain one thing: getting a B or even a C does not make you a lesser person. It is OKAY to have a B or even a C, provided that you tried your darn best.

You are much more than the cumulative sum of your grades.

  1. Getting rid of distractions

    Cellphones and studying? Doesn’t mix. Turn it off.

    Your cellphone, of course. For me, that is the biggest distraction. It’s tempting to read every notification that buzzes on your rectangle and it is even more tempting to just go on a fishing expedition to get your mind off more important things. This equally applies to sitting before a computer and trying to study. Before you know it, you have spent 80% of your day going through social media feeds, interesting posts, etc. etc. For all you know, you could be studying right now. But you chose to read my blog!? Well, okay, maybe that was a good idea since you perhaps wanted to know how to gear up for mid-terms. But it is even a better idea to install something like a StayFocusd browser extension on your Chrome browser.

    According to the developers, “StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.” Sounds like a good way to stay focused on what really matters.

  2. Reviewing your class notes

    I am a furious note-taker and I cannot recall without my notes. If you are like me and have been taking notes on paper or computer, now is the time to make use of those gems. Instead of reviewing dozens of powerpoint slides or flipping a book chapter to chapter, all you have to do is to page through what your hands have written. Writing stuff down always helps with memorization.

  3. Determining if you need extra help

    So you saw and studied those Calculus concepts, but how exactly can you do this problem? Do you need extra help? I know I do all the time. Go to the Student Success Center on campus or approach your professors directly during office hours. Ask questions, because the stupidest thing in a student’s life is probably the question that is never asked. And take advantage of your fellow classmates’ knowledge. Now should have been enough time for you to get acquainted with most people in your classroom. Book a group study room in the library and study like there is no tomorrow. Because when that tomorrow comes, you will be jumping in joy of accomplishments you gained. 

Meanwhile, take breaks as necessary to rejuvenate. Your brain is not a machine. Even if you think it is, it needs to be well-oiled. Eat well, sleep well, and rest well. Nourishment for mind keeps a healthy heart beating.

Best of luck!