The month of October brings many things: cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, the beginning of the holiday season, Halloween and…midterms.
Yes, midterms indicate that we are halfway through the semester. What better way to celebrate than by endless amounts of projects, papers and tests? Although those tests aren’t as intense as finals, they still contribute to a large percentage of your grade, and that can be a bit stressful. To help lower your stress levels, here are 5 tips to help you study for your midterms this semester.
Get some sleep…or some coffee
Studies show that getting a good amount of sleep is important to prevent sleep deprivation. Lack of an adequate amount of sleep can affect your short-term memory, which is important for success during midterms. Unfortunately, sleep is not always an option, so the next best thing is coffee! Studies also show that drinking about 2 cups of coffee helps boost your memory for up to 24 hours.
Study more effectively
Try studying in a group! You’re more likely to pick up information you might have missed, and discussing the material is beneficial to the brain for better memorization. If you prefer to study alone, take your location into consideration. A change of scenery helps the brain function better for many reasons.
Another way to study smarter is to disconnect. As a generation very attached to social media, our phones can provide a lot of distractions. Therefore, it’s best to turn it off during your study time.
Most importantly, DON’T CRAM. Cramming for a test doesn’t help your brain realize the importance of the information you want to memorize. Instead, try studying a little bit everyday leading up to your test. New York Times science reporter Benedict Carey states, “When you are cramming for a test, you are holding that information in your head for a limited amount of time. … But you haven’t signaled to the brain in a strong way that it’s really valuable.”
What does help is testing yourself. Dr. Jason Finley of the Behavioral Science Department stated “Psychology research has shown that people generally remember better when they have actively retrieved information from memory, rather than simply reading and re-reading it. Every time you retrieve a memory, you strengthen that memory. So, the most effective way to study is to QUIZ YOURSELF!” Instead of doing excessive amounts of reading, try creating practice questions or reviewing old tests and quizzes.
Skipping meals and filling up on junk food is not recommended, ever, but especially during midterms. Try planning time for meals in between studying. If you absolutely can’t make time for a full meal, go for snacks that are considered super foods. Super foods help your brain function better. Berries, avocados, and dark chocolate are just a few. You can find a list of these “brain foods” here.
Talk to your professors
Take time to visit your professors during office hours, which can usually be found in the syllabus. Ask questions about anything you aren’t fully grasping, follow up on the material that’s been covered so far and, enquire about if there are certain topics that should be focused on more than others. Professors are there to help, so take advantage of that.