Survival Guide 101: Midterms

Posted by Shannon Hui on October 10, 2017

Academic Success | Student Life

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It’s midterm season, and your schedule is probably packed with assignments, readings and most importantly, studying! As busy as you may be, I’ve been in your shoes before. So have no fear, Lions: I’ve compiled my most useful study tips and tricks into a midterm survival guide so that you can be on your way to acing your exams and assignments.

1. Make a study plan

The best way to be on top of your midterms is to make a study plan to help you stay informed and organized. Essentially, a study plan is a schedule that outlines when and what you will study and highlights important dates to remember (a.k.a. the dates of your midterms). I suggest using a colour-coded block schedule to keep things organized with a weekly calendar layout for a bird’s eye view of how much time you should spend studying each subject. Keep in mind that it’s important to allocate your time wisely for each exam and study for each one equally. If you’d like more advice about improving your organizational skills, take a look at one of our previous posts, “Time Management Tips for York U Students.”

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Stay organized and on track with a study plan.

2. Find your best time and place to study

Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you were to ask me, I would say I’m somewhere in the middle. Since I am most energetic and focused in the afternoon, I prefer studying during the middle of the day. When it comes to location, I go to the library for some peace and quiet. Everyone has their own preferences and routines when it comes to studying. Take the time to understand yours by trying different times and locations so you can optimize your study session. All of York’s study spaces are listed on the “Places to Study” page, where you can filter the options based on your preferences. Also, if you’re a library lover like me, make sure to be aware of the library hours so you can plan accordingly.

3. Study smart

Don’t just study hard: study smart! You won’t have to know (or have time) to understand every single detail that the professor has talked about so far. Instead, review the course outline and exam format to gain an idea of the key concepts and areas that you should concentrate on. Also, think about your preferred learning style and best study techniques. Do you learn best by reading aloud, writing notes or solving example questions? Understand what works best for you and studying will be a lot more productive and effective. If you want some extra help personalizing your study sessions, you can also visit Learning Skills Services (LSS) for Academic Success Workshops, Peer Academic Coaching or one-to-one sessions with a Learning Skills Specialist.

4. Reach out and ask for help

No one else can write the midterm for you but that doesn’t mean that you are alone when it comes to preparing for them! In fact, your peers and professors are great resources for extra help and insight. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Consider working in study groups or attending professors’ office hours to confirm your understanding of the material.

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Studying in groups will allow you to learn collaboratively and confirm your understanding of the material.

5. Take a break

Taking a study break does not mean procrastination (although it can lead to it)! It’s important to give yourself an opportunity to refresh your mind so that you can return to work with full momentum. Schedule short breaks throughout your study period and stay committed to those time slots. Don’t allow yourself to add five minutes more, as it can easily lead to an extra ten, twenty or even thirty minutes. Suddenly, your fifteen minute break may have become an hour long! Remember, you can always go on Facebook or Netflix, but your midterms won’t wait for you. To give yourself a break, consider attending an event on campus, which is a great way to rejuvenate your mind and interact with your peers. Don’t know what events to attend? Check out the York University Events page to learn about all the cool things happening this month!

6. Take care of yourself

Grades are important, but so is your mental health and physical well-being. Make sure you stay hydrated, take the time to eat a good meal and catch up on sleep. You can also wind down by taking advantage of services on campus, such as attending Mindfulness Meditation sessions hosted by the Healthy Student Initiative (email for more information) or blowing off steam at Tait McKenzie. This way, you will be fully energized and ready to start the day!

7. Review and reflect

You’ve put in many hours of studying for your midterms, but your task is not done! Now it’s time to look back on your studying experience. Review and reflect on what worked and what didn’t when it came to studying techniques and strategies. Be open-minded when you receive your grades, making sure to learn from your mistakes. All in all, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving midterms, reflect on the ups and downs and bring your best self forward for the next challenge: finals!

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Self-reflecting on your experiences is important to learn from your mistakes.

What are your study tips and tricks for midterms? Comment below or tweet us on Twitter at @YorkUStudents.

Shannon Hui
Shannon Hui

Shannon is a third-year student in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Program at York U. She is also an ice cream fanatic (especially for chocolate chip cookie dough), bookworm and stationery enthusiast, and she hopes York students enjoy reading her posts!

See other posts by Shannon Hui

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