Minimize midterm stress and maximize success

A chill in the air and pumpkin decorations adorning every corner of campus mark the return of something sinister. No, not Halloween, but midterm exams.

Aside from the seasonal cold and regular aversion to on-campus dining, the month of October reminds us all of the fears and frustrations we call Wake Forest University.

Know the test’s format: For some, midterms are the first exam of the semester. Students are unable to predict the style, layout and difficulty of the test itself. Avoid test-day surprises by asking your professor about the test’s format ahead of time. Knowing whether the exam consists of multiple choice, true/false, short-answer or essays will allow you to tailor your studying techniques to fit the format.

Study early: Staying on top of studying is easier said than done between projects, assignments, meetings and events cluttering our lives during this point in the semester. Try to review your notes for an hour each day to stay fresh on the subject. When the night before the exam rolls around, you will be more at ease because you’ve already prepared. Cramming for an exam all night long is inefficient and often hurts your grade more than it helps.

Actively study: Put down the phone, turn off the T.V. and stop checking your email. Procrastination poisons your study routine, and it is hard to get back on track. If possible, try closing your laptop and using a book and notes to study; it’s easy to get off track when Facebook is just a click away. Meticulously work through the material without interruptions so your brain can absorb the material. Putting your head down and cranking out tough work will help you score big on your midterm exam.

Collaborate with classmates: Friends are without a doubt the best study resource available. Turn to a classmate for an explanation of a concept or problem set that you don’t understand. Collaborating with your peers allows you to compare notes and thoughtfully discuss material. Sometimes it helps to explain different topics to one another. Explaining a process or diagram is a good way to validate whether or not you know the material thoroughly. Make the most of your time studying together by quizzing one another and building on each other’s study guides.

Make a study guide: Google Doc is a student’s best friend when it comes to exams. Create a study guide to share with your friends in order to pool information, notes and perspectives together in a communal document. Divide up vocabulary terms, important dates or readings for a cohesive study guide reflecting all areas of the test.

Switch up your study spot: Studying in the same location can put you in a funk. Change up your scenery to refresh your study time. Whether you’re making the move from the library’s eighth floor to Campus Grounds or simply switching seats in your dorm room, relocating will give you a chance to stretch your legs and clear your mind.

Sleep: The most enjoyable study tip, of course, is sleep. Somehow in the frenzy of study groups, review sessions and countless cups of coffee, we forget this essential body function. A good night’s sleep allows the mind to recharge and the body to rest so you wake up energized. Dozing off during an exam is not exactly productive and may result in a low grade. Trust me, get some sleep. All nighters are hard on your body, mind and mental stability. Forgo the fifth cup of coffee and opt for an early bedtime instead.

  • I’ve been struggling with procrastination for the last 10 years and read countless books and self help methods. Here is what I’m having best results with. First of all, procrastination bulldozer method has worked wonders for me. I highly recommend you apply it. Secondly, whenever you have a task that takes less than 5 minutes to do, do it right away. No delays. I’m really starting to take control of my life now.