Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

October 1, 2007 8:42 AM

Midterm season is here, now what?

This is the time of the year when summer’s glow is finally fading and the reality of classes, commitments, and dreaded midterms start to seem like a lot of handle. So what can you do to balance your schedule and kick start your studying? Here are a few pointers.

One of the most important things you can do as a student is buy a planner and keep track of when assignments are due, when tests are coming up, and all of your other activities and commitments. Make sure you check ahead a few weeks to anticipate midterms and large projects and see if there are any commitments before your exams that may prevent you from studying as much as you normally would. In this case, it may be a good idea to start studying a little earlier or to reexamine how important those commitments are to you. Remember to prioritize!

Another thing you can do to anticipate midterms is to occasionally review the material that the professor has covered in class. Ideally it is good for you to review your lecture notes the day of or the day after the lecture was given to make sure you understand all the material. However, things come up and its often very difficult to set time aside each day to do this. Reviewing once a week or every two weeks is a good compromise and can help you clear up questions while they are still fresh in your mind and prevent you from having to ask a bunch of questions during the office hours rush around the midterm.

Once I figure out when my midterms are and what material will be on the exam, I will usually start studying about a week before depending on how much I have going on the week of my midterm and how much trouble I have been having with the material. Make sure you are as clear as you can be on what will be covered in the exam, then come up with daily study goals to make sure you review all the material before the exam without cramming. Making a list of all the topics covered and assigning a topic or two to review each day will have you ready for the test in no time without having to stress and cram the night before.

Now you are ready to get started, but where are some good places to crack the books? I am fortunate to live in a quiet apartment and thus do not need to worry about getting too distracted. However, I find that I really like studying in cafes. Café Milano, Brewed Awakening, and Caffé Strada are some of my favorites that are pretty close to campus. It is really pleasant to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee while reading and be in a more social atmosphere than the drab library. That being said, the library is a great place for people to get work done efficiently, and for people who are easily distracted. You will get two to three times more work done in the library than in the same time spent at home taking breaks to surf the web, chat on aim, or grab some snacks.

Finally, the last piece of advice I can give is to still take care of yourself during exams. They are very important, but they are not worth compromising your health. Remember to eat well, get some exercise, and get plenty of rest. Good luck!


Liz Dow | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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