I had my first midterm.
In high school, final exams were the only tests I had that were heavily weighted, and I had a whole year to learn the material for them.
In university and college, not only are there final exams at the end of each term, but there are midterms, as well.
Even though I’ve only been in school for two months, I’ve got midterms starting up, and I can feel stress starting to build. I know I need to prepare for my midterms (I’m hoping I’m prepared now, seeing as I have already taken my first), but it’s hard to know how best to go about it. How should I study? Where should I study?
While studying for midterms, I’ve observed that everyone has an ideal strategy for studying, and no one’s is quite the same.
There are many factors to take into account– music or no music? Library or study lounge? Snacks or no snacks? I found through a process of trial and error that I like to study in the relative quiet of the Neill House study lounge or up at the Student Union Building, and as for snacks, let me say, Booster Juice is definitely helpful with my homework. My roommate Savannah Moore has a different strategy.
“I like to study in the Harriet Irving Library with a good cup of coffee,” she said.
Making a strategy for studying can take time, but it’s an important process since not everything works for everyone.
Strategies can also be fluid– I used to love listening to music while I studied in high school, and now I like it dead quiet.
Something else I’ve found essential– time management.
I feel that going to school at Thomas Haney really prepared me for studying at university. Some of my friends are struggling to balance their time between lectures and studying because they’ve come from schools where they have classes all day long.
I’ve found that university’s not very different from the self-directed model I’m used to as a Thomas Haney graduate. I’ve got one or two classes a day and long breaks in between. I use my breaks for studying and completing assignments, so in the evenings I’m free to explore Fredericton and enjoy the finer aspects of university life.
Even now, during midterm season, I still feel like I would be much more stressed if I didn’t know how to balance my time between work and play.
When I asked my roommate what she felt was most important about studying for her midterms, she told me: “Take a study break.”
Savannah’s right. According to Oxford Learning, taking study breaks can drastically improve test scores. Breaking is also a part of time management. I’ve been budgeting my time so I can study and then go take a walk with my friends, or go get lunch in town instead of just at meal hall.
Exam time can be stressful for students, so remembering to take breaks is essential not only for success, but also for maintaining a positive relationship with school and learning.
Sitting in the study lounge with my trusty “Mind Over Matcha” Booster Juice and some Bruce’s Market salmon jerky that my parents mailed me from home, I feel very prepared for my midterm. I’ve been studying a little bit every day and I’ve been making sure to take breaks; I’ve been balancing my time, and all in all, I feel like my stress levels aren’t too bad.
Tests are only scary when I let them sneak up on me.
At least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.
Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.