Midterm Study Tips: Personal Study Techniques From One College Student to Another

With Midterms coming up, students know its about that time to start hitting the books. (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

With Midterms coming up, students know it’s about that time to start hitting the books. (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

By Amanda Piekarz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

As a junior year Psychology student, I know how daunting testing sounds. Midterms are only a taste of what finals hold, but with a lot of studying and self-care, you’ll be just fine.

My first tip is simply said, but difficult to be done: Don’t stress too much. A little stress here or there never hurt anyone, but keeping yourself up all night for a week preparing for midterms will hurt you more than help you.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. This includes four major aspects: adequate sleep, proper ‘brain’ food, staying hydrated and taking breaks to decompress.

I try to average five to six hours of sleep a night, with the goal being eight hours if I can. Sometimes it’s not possible, and that’s okay. Sleep is very important though, so make sure to make time to get enough shut-eye.

Eating and drinking while preparing to study are also very important. There are certain kinds of food proven to enhance memory and recall. Seeds, nuts, yogurt, blueberries and fruits are just a few of my favorite study foods because they keep my energy up and they taste good.

What you want to avoid while snacking are artificial sugars. While it might give you energy for an hour or so, your body will crash because the sugars aren’t sustainable.

Along with this, it is very easy to become dehydrated, especially if you’re fueling your studying with energy drinks. It is best to keep drinking water all throughout the day, the recommended amount is about half a gallon a day or eight 8-ounce glasses of water.

Personally, I like an organized study environment. I have my designated study area and I try to keep it clean because I feel less focused in a cluttered area.

The first thing I do once I’m ready to study is put my phone on airplane mode, so texts and apps won’t distract me. To effectively study, you need to figure out whether you study best alone, or in small groups.

I like to study alone, but I know there are certain subjects that I learn better with small groups.

Once you start studying, it is important to take breaks to decompress. I usually take a break every hour or so and I watch something to boost my mood.

Sometimes it’s a YouTube video or if I need more time it’ll be an episode of Friends. It’s best to take breaks because cramming information doesn’t work. The brain needs time to process what you’re trying to learn.

It might even help to switch to a new subject after you’ve been studying for one for a while. It’ll give you a break from the other subject, and you’ll be using your time effectively.

There are a couple of studying techniques that I use a lot. I always save my old homework and quizzes to study and from the old quizzes, I make my own study guides.

I like to start studying about a week before the test. I’ll start studying the older information first and spend more time on it. Then, as the week goes on, start studying the newer information. Generally, you shouldn’t have to spend as much time on the newer information because it’s fresh in your mind.

Flashcards are useful, but not for everything. If you need to study definitions or terms, then flashcards are your friend. However, if you have the information you need to learn and apply, flashcards are a waste of time.

For the application of information, it’s best to figure out effective memorization techniques. For me, I create stories in my head that connect the terms in a way I remember it best. You can also create acronyms to remember long lists of term or information.

Effective studying finds a way to relate simple definitions to real life.

Finally, if there is one thing that will save a college student’s life, it’s Quizlet.

Happy Studying!