Midterms are stressful. Not only are you being tested on your knowledge, it oftentimes is the first time you’re seeing your professor’s testing style. Students sometimes become so overwhelmed by the mere thought of preparing for their midterms and writing their essays, they find it hard to start. While a certain amount of stress surrounding school can be beneficial (it means that you care!), too much stress can hinder your ability to succeed. Here are some simple ways to get started with studying.
- Write a “to do” list and then set SMART goals. One of the best ways to approach a long list is to break it down into bite-size goals. SMART goals are helpful in this case as they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Rather than tell yourself you need to write your WRTG 121 research paper, you can plan on writing the first five pages of your research paper by Friday night. Viewing your homework from this perspective not only makes it more manageable, it also makes it easier to get started.
- Use a planner to prioritize your homework and studying. While you might have a 15-page essay due in two weeks, your exam tomorrow morning should probably be your priority. Bigger assignments have a tendency to consume us, leading to a mad scramble to get other work done at the last minute. A planner (whether digital or physical) will help you look a few weeks ahead and stay on top of everything.
- Schedule study time. It is so important to make the conscious decision to study. Personal “to do” lists (laundry, groceries, dishes, cat videos, etc.) tend to overshadow academic ones. Carve out a couple hours each day during midterms time to dedicate to your academic projects. Make sure to go into designated study time with your SMART goals and your planner.
So you’ve make your goals, you’ve planned out your midterm schedule, and you have designated study time. But, you don’t know how to study! Different learning styles study in different ways. For example, while one student might learn best by re-typing class notes, another might learn by drawing out the concepts from the class. Take this quiz to find out what your learning style is. Whatever your learning style, here are a few tips for successful study sessions.
- Be prepared! Make sure you have everything you need to study. If you’re at home, it can be distracting to continually move around your living space to gather materials. If you’re at a library, the session might come to an end prematurely if you forgot your textbooks or notes. On the flip side, only bring the materials you need, leaving distracting items at home.
- Find a quiet place to study. Coffee shops have great, stimulating atmospheres, especially the ones in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor area. However, being in a place where music is playing and is filled with people who are socializing is not conducive to absorbing material. Calming, quiet places, like libraries, are better for study sessions.
- Consider study buddies. Talking through class notes with someone else will help you learn and understand the information. Scheduling study time with someone else will also hold you accountable for the time you’ve committed to your academics. Make sure your study session doesn’t turn into social time, though!
If you’re having trouble getting organized, make an appointment with a success coach. If you need help studying for a specific subject, stop by Study Tables in Halle Library to meet with a drop-in tutor or visit your department for department specific tutoring.