Tips for Study for Midterms without Dying

October is almost over. I don’t know about you, but my midterms are not over yet. October is generally a whirlwind of a month. So many things to do to celebrate the season–apple picking, hot cider, warm sweaters–and then academically–mid-terms, mid-semester haul, homesickness–it is exhausting. I’ve always been pretty good at studying. I’ve never been the kind of person to overly stress and be a zombie living on two hours asleep during the week. The reason for this is that I’ve learned to manage my time the right way. Here, I share some tips to help you out.

1. Get some sleep!
There’s literally nothing worse than being overly exhausted. It’s such a vicious cycle that can sometimes be hard to break. My rule of the thumb is to get about 7-8 hours of sleep every day. This means I usually don’t go to bed late studying but try to wake up earlier. Studying after waking up from a good night’s sleep is always way more productive than trying to not fall asleep while studying.

2. Take breaks!
I love learning but I hate studying. Usually, when I’m going over notes for a midterm, I get extremely bored because I feel like I’ve heard it all before. When this starts to happen, I make a note to do something fun for about thirty minutes–watch an episode of Weeds, take a twenty-minute nap, organize my room. It’s important to be a bit active and do pleasurable things while you’re studying otherwise your focus will go down and you will not learn anything.

3. Use colors!
I like taking notes in pink and using all kinds of cute methods to organize my studying. It makes me put some effort into what I’m doing and I then associate things which, to me, is a great way of learning.

4. Write!
When you’re studying, use note cards and write down study guides. You might not have time to reread everything after you write it (especially if you’re cramming) but writing it down already makes it way easier to learn. I heard somewhere that when you write down something you’re learning, you’re more able to retain it longer. It kind of makes sense because you have to read, analyze, and then write it down so you’re ultra exposed to what you’re doing.

5. Learn!
I cannot stress this enough. You are not actually learning anything if all you’re doing is trying to memorize stuff. It’s best to really internalize what you’re trying to study. Look at it this way, if a random friend asks you, “How does X work?” you should be able to give her a wholesome answer in your own words. Along those lines, if you have a study buddy and you explain things to each other, that makes for a great studying technique.

Hope that helps. Just rememeber, don’t overwork yourself. If you managed to break things down well and organize yourself, you’ll do fine.

What study tips do you have?

xo, Patricia