As a Bio-Physio Major, I have had my share of incredibly difficult midterms. And although there are some people who have a midterm and a final, I experience several exams for each class throughout the semester. And, girrrrl, it got me on a whole new level of stressin’. For a lot of my chemistry related classes (i.e. general chemistry, organic chemistry, etc.), we had 2 exams during finals week… Exam 4 and the cumulative final within a three hour period. Last semester, I had both those classes including their labs, along with another class and its lab, which led me to have 1-2 tests EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Trust me, it was not fun.
But, with all these experience of blood, sweat, and tears over tests, I wanted to share some studying habits I’ve gained to help YOU make it through studying to kick your tests in the butt, and avoid the unfortunate events I’ve been through.
Read your syllabus on the first day of school and check out your Professor’s plan for the semester. They should already have dates of hw assignments due, and when your tests will be. Then, write all those dates in a handy-dandy planner/calendar so you will always have a good idea when you should plan to study.
STUDY AHEAD OF TIME. Yes, you might think you have free time. But if you’re going to waste the day sitting at home re-watching the same shows on netflix anyway, might as well get at least an hour or so of studying in because I promise you, by the time you realize it, the test will be the next day and you’re going to be up all night cramming which is not such a great route to pursue.
Set yourself up with a good study group. As you get further into school, you’ll realize you’ll have classes with familiar faces often. Get to know them and make a study group because it’ll first and foremost, encourage you to study more and it will give you the opportunity to both learn from them and teach them the material taught in class.
Re-write your notes. My organic chemistry professor loves to say this on syllabus day and I followed his advice, and honestly, it has helped me SO much. In class, I’m in such a rush trying to copy everything he goes over in slides or on the board while listening to his explanation of everything, so it ends up becoming a big whirlwind and my notes are all messy from trying to copy fast. Re-writing your notes (I even make it in like colorful ink and all neat) can reinforce all the things you learned in class and you can go over it at your pace, so that way you’re really getting to understand what it is you’re supposed to be learning.
Ask for help AFTER you tried doing it yourself. The best way to learn is do it yourself, then checking it. If it’s wrong or you’re stuck, THAT’S when you can ask either someone from your study group or the professor why it’s wrong or how to better help you get to the problem. The process of trying will allow you to retain it once the correct answer is found after the help. And also, asking your professor for help will allow them to get to know you better and often, a lot of good things come out of building a good relationship them!
The night before your test, get a good night’s sleep. It will help you retain the information (it really does) and you’ll feel refreshed when you wake up, eat breakfast, and be on your way to take those midterms!
And lastly, take a breather every now and then, and be confident in yourself! YOU CAN DO IT! (: