As the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year rapidly nears its end, students all over the Scheck Hillel campus start experiencing the symptoms Midterm Mania typically induces. These include anxiety, exhaustion, stress, over-eating, over-caffeination, crying, laughing, complaining, and an overall feeling of distress and defeat. Students look at the challenge these vital exams pose, and view it as an unclimbable mountain, impossible to surpass. Though a ruthless epidemic, Midterm Mania can be both prevented and cured by applying special techniques and precautions, which provide the tools necessary to not only climb the mountain, but dominate the journey.
Tip #1: Create a Study Plan
Coping with the incredible amount of information tested on midterm exams can prove overwhelming. By creating a study schedule which includes required topics and units, a copious amount of work can be decimated through distribution and planning. It is important to set realistic goals and to abide by them. Including rewards into the schedule can also motivate its fulfillment, ensuring that the set study plan is respected and therefore effective.
Tip #2: Practice Continuous Learning
Though it may seem like an overbearing task, constantly reviewing the material that is being learned in class has been scientifically proven to truly register in the human brain, maximizing comprehension and retention of information. By reading and understanding the taught material at a continuous pace, not only before an assessment, by the time midterms arrive, the information will already be inside the student’s brain. Therefore, preparing will simply require re-enhancing and refreshing the cumulative material.
Tip #3: Take Advantage of Office Hours
It is completely normal for certain concepts to be confusing and difficult to grasp. While there is no damage in making mistakes, it is that which is done to correct them that matters. By recognizing difficulty areas and vocalizing this struggle to teachers, office hours can be used to fix these problems. This way, when midterms week arrives, studying will simply consist of reviewing concepts and information that have already been explained, understood, and internalized.
Tip #4: Collect Past Notes, Worksheets, and Tests and Create a Study Guide
Midterm exams are cumulative assessments that include the material that has been covered throughout the semester. All of this information is found across various worksheets, handouts, tests, quizzes, and notes. By collecting all of these in an organized manner, everything needed to ace the test will be concentrated in one place. By organizing them in chronological order, the process of understanding and studying is largely facilitated. Reviewing past assessments is not only a great way to study, but to check for comprehension and deep level understanding. Additionally, creating a complete study guide that encompasses all of the main topics and necessary details is perhaps the best way to prepare for a midterm exam. While making the study guide, a deep overview of the information allows for true comprehension of what will be included on the test. The study guide will enable familiarization with the material, and speed up studying by integrating all things in one place.
Tip #5: Form a Study Group
Individual motivation is often hard to find, especially when it comes to studying for a test. By creating a study group that provides a cooperative environment, tasks can be divided and conquered, and one can help in an area where another lacks. It is important to keep in mind that the best friend is not always the best study partner. Recognizing what company will permit productivity is essential when applying this tip, as the wrong selection of peers can prove catastrophic when preparing for a midterm.
Tip #6: Mix It Up
Studying for hours on end from the same source can prove to be demotivating and counter productive. It is important to establish breaks between extended study periods. Though each individual will find their perfect balance, a 15 minute break every 90 minutes has been recorded to be the most effective. In these breaks, it is ideal to change scenery, be active, and to eat snacks that promote brain activity. It is also essential to remember that the internet is the greatest blessing a modern-day student has, for it contains infinite sources of information and practice. Websites such as Quizlet and Khan Academy provide both material and tests that help prepare millions of students world-wide.
Tip #7: Mental Health Does Matter
Students’ single most important responsibility is their performance in school. Thus, important tests such as midterms can cause incredible amounts of pressure, leading to despair, stress, and counterproductive behavior. Though pulling an all-nighter may seem like the only option, research has found that sleeping benefits the mind and helps yield better results. As Science Daily Magazine explains, “a sleep deprived brain is dysfunctional”. All nighters merely activate short-term memory, which means that true internalization of the information is not possible when cramming during a sleep-less night. This same article explains that by establishing good habits from early on in one’s high school career, the human brain adapts and evolves, leading to a significantly more successful college experience.
Tip #8: Food: Your Greatest Friend or Enemy
The nutrients the body ingests have a great influence on mental performance. Having breakfast before taking tests is almost as essential as reviewing the information that very morning. Brain-boosting meals, such as yogurt mixed with granola and blueberries or scrambled eggs, provide energy and concentration, as opposed to heavy meals, which can cause fatigue and debilitation. According to the Huff Post Healthy Living, these are the superfoods that can help keep the brain in top shape:
- Dark Chocolate
Tip #9: Calculate Desired Grades
By using Final Grade Calculator Websites, one can see the grade needed to achieve on the midterm in order to reach the desired grade in the class. This helps determine the amount of work that should be dedicated to each individual subject, which can be taken into consideration when preparing for the exams, especially when two midterms are scheduled for the same day.
Tip #10: Exercise Self-control (No Cellphones)
As fascinating as a class may be, in most cases, students seem to be more attracted to their personal devices than they are to their study guides. Cellphones and social media often interrupt study sessions and deviate attention from the task at hand. Temporarily deleting apps such as Netflix and YouTube can help deal with the compulsive need many have towards watching videos instead of devoting their time towards academic advancement. Use time with the device as a reward for completing the set goal, as opposed to letting this artifact interrupt precious time and concentration.
Yes, midterm exams are important assessments that induce unparalleled levels of stress and exhaustion on students. However, the strenuous effect they have on many can be prevented by simply being disciplined, and using these ten tips to combat Midterm Mania.