Step 1: Make a to-do list. By making a to-do list, you are able to see what all needs to be accomplished over the next few days. It is the easiest way to stay organized and ensure assignments are finished in the midst of the stress. Another tip when making lists, make sure to prioritize tasks. This helps with time management to avoid cramming for tests at the last minute. Another useful tool to staying organized is to use a planner with daily study goals. This ensures not only the to-do list is being accomplished, but also you are able to realistically tackle the material for your tests.
Step 2: Quiz yourself on the material. Often times, self-assessment is the easiest way to determine what you already know and what you have left to study. This can help you determine what material to focus on, rather than wasting time reviewing things you already have mastered. One easy way to quiz yourself is to make flash cards, study guides, or to review the questions at the end of each chapter. Quizlet is a free online study tool that allows you to make flash cards and play matching games to help learn the material faster.
Step 3: Study in productive groups. By studying in a group, you have a resource to ask questions on the material you are unclear about. It also gives you someone to go through practice problems and quiz you. Another study tip is to explain the material to someone else. If you are able to teach the material successfully, you will be able to remember it on the test.
Step 4: Add variety to your study spots. There are many more places than just the library to study. While the library is a great resource to study, our campus and surrounding area have many great places to study. Starbucks, Café Ventana, and the Center for Global Citizenship building are all quiet places to study around campus. Another place to study is the actual classroom where you will be taking the test. One thing to avoid is studying where there will be lots of distractions. Avoid studying with a television on to minimize distractions. Your study time is valuable and the less distractions around, the more effective your studying will be.
Step 5: Sleep. While midterms may be a sleep-deprived week, the best thing to prepare for exams this week is to get plenty of sleep. Your brain sorts and stores important information while you sleep. The best way to ensure you remember all of that material you spent hours studying is to sleep. It may seem like a good idea to stay up and sacrifice sleep to re-read that chapter one more time, but you will be more likely to remember what you study after a good night rest, rather than forcing yourself to stay up, cramming one more chapter. Sleeping also boosts your immune system, so if you are sacrificing sleep, chances of becoming ill increase.
Here at SLU, there are several resources on campus to aid you with your studying. Writing Services is one-on-one consultation to improve writing projects. To learn more about University Writing Services go to http://www.slu.edu/retention-and-academic-success/university-writing-services, or call the Student Success Center at 314-977-3484. Another great resource the Student Success Center offers is free Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction Services; to learn more visit: http://www.slu.edu/retention-and-academic-success/tutoring-and-supplemental-instruction.
While midterms can be a very stressful time for everyone, the most important thing to do this week is to take a deep breath, study as hard as you can, and to be proud of all of the hard work you put in. Remember, it is one week and with the right preparation, you will be successful!