Skip the stress of midterms with these helpful study tips

Delia Rush, Features Editor

As you stare down at the booklet in front of you, you take a deep breath and open its pages. This is a much-anticipated moment.  Some parts seem familiar, others not so much.  Your palms become sweaty as you grip your number two pencil a little bit tighter, eraser shavings spreading across your desk.  You look up at the ceiling, praying that little tip from seventh grade will pull through and prove to actually work: providing you with something similar to an epiphany and magically supplying you with the answer.  After some contemplation, you settle with just choosing “C.”

There is a sure bet to end this phenomenon: to rid yourself of this unnecessary stress, the best solution is to study.

Ah yes, studying, the preparation many of us dread and end up putting off until the last second.  Well, believe it or not, cramming does not do you any good.  So while the days that we await so anxiously come closer and closer, there are some vital tips that can help you ace that midterm.

Get moving.  Studies show that exercise promotes blood flow to your brain, allowing you to think quickly and efficiently.  Just a little cardio here and there improves memory and increases alertness and energy.  These are not only beneficial while taking a test, but also while studying.  Even the smallest amount of exercise increases self-esteem, making you feel indestructible.  Studying thus seems less of a burden.

Find your method.  Different studying methods work for different people.  If you have found that after studying extensively your grades do not reflect your effort, chances are you should switch up your studying habits.  Some people learn best from writing out facts or problems.  In this case, writing a review sheet by hand, or rewriting notes, can be extremely helpful.  Studies have also found that using blue ink assists the most with memory.  However, if memorization is your route for success, try flash cards.  Other studying techniques include reading over notes or review books and highlighting as you go.  Try a few of these methods out and find what seems the most natural and efficient to you.

Practice, practice, practice.  The act of actually taking a test is anxiety-inducing in and of itself, no matter the setting, subject, or value of the test.  Calm some of your nerves by taking practice tests or practicing questions.  Familiarizing yourself with the subject material that will be on your midterms not only helps you review, but also promotes confidence, especially when you get answers correct.  Even if you’re struggling, redoing questions from old tests, taking practice tests from review books, and then going over the questions you got incorrect can establish which areas you need to improve.  From this information, you can work more specifically on these aspects of the material.

Give yourself a break.  With so much information on your mind, all of this studying can definitely become overwhelming.  So while you may feel that it is necessary to lock yourself in your room in the days leading up to midterms, this can cause a lot of needless stress.  Certainly, you should devote a good amount of time to studying within these next few crucial days.  But allow yourself some leisure time as well.  Going out for lunch with friends, watching a movie, or reading a book to relax can help you decompress and direct all of that anticipation energy towards some mental health moments.  So grab some coffee, tea, whatever your preference is, to give yourself a little boost (just stay conscious of your caffeine intake).  Stay calm and remember to stay confident.  Since what you expect is often what you get, live through your self-fulfilling prophecy!  Make sure to get plenty of rest, as lack of sleep can compromise academic performance, eat a filling and nutritious breakfast the morning of, and have a very merry midterm week.