Get Ready for Midterm Season

January 16, 2024

The holidays are over, we’re back from break, and for some students, this means it’s almost time for midterm season. The upcoming midterms may seem daunting – after all, you need to know a whole semester’s worth of content – but if you break preparation down into easy, bite-sized chunks, midterms don’t have to be a headache! Read on to learn a few tricks to make midterm season feel more manageable.

GET ORGANIZED

What makes midterm season tricky is that often, you’re not preparing for one test – you’re preparing for several, all at once! One way to stay in control is to get organized. Put any important dates or deadlines in a calendar so you’re never surprised by what’s coming, and to make sure you turn in all assignments on time. To learn more about how to make an effective study plan and schedule, read our blog post here.

IDENTIFY THE FORMAT OF EACH TEST

Tests can be created in several different formats, and that’ll affect how you study. A multiple-choice test will be different from a short-answer test, which will be different still from an in-class essay. Ask your teachers what to expect to see on your tests, and then make sure when you’re doing practice questions and quizzes, you’re evaluating yourself in a format that matches what’s coming on test day.

TAKE A PRACTICE TEST

Some teachers offer practice tests before a big midterm, so if your teacher does, use it! Take a practice test to get clear on your strengths and weaknesses, and which of your tests may require more studying than others. Once you make those determinations, go back to your calendar and schedule in time to study. If your teacher doesn’t give you a practice test, you can go back and look over tests and quizzes from earlier in the semester to see which ones you aced, and which could use a bit more work. You can also ask your teacher for blank copies of old tests so you can redo them and see how much you remember!

STUDY - IN THE WAY THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!

There is no one-size-fits-all method for studying. As you grow as a student, you’ll need to determine the best way to study for you. You may find that making a comprehensive outline is a good way to organize and review content. Or you may thrive with flashcards – making flashcards can be a good review, and quizzing yourself with flashcards is a great way to practice the recall you’ll need on a test. You may also learn well from “teaching” content to a friend or family member – if you know the content well enough to teach it, you certainly know it well enough to ace an exam! Try some different strategies, and see which seems to help you the most. You may want to use one or several different strategies as you study.

QUIZ YOURSELF

As you study, make sure you’re taking time to quiz yourself throughout to evaluate your progress. Did you really learn all you needed to know from your last study session? How well do you really remember those vocab words? Take some time to give yourself small quizzes after each study session to ensure you’re retaining all of the information you’ll need.

FINALLY, STAY POSITIVE!

Midterms can be stressful, but they can be useful, too. Teachers use the data from midterms to evaluate whether students are learning what they need, and they can plan reteach lessons or can slow down the curriculum if students struggle. And you can use your midterm scores to evaluate your own progress – these scores can tell you whether to keep doing what you’re doing, or if you need to make a few tweaks in the semester ahead. Either way, remember that these tests are designed to help you understand your learning – so just do your best!

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