Conquering Spooky Midterms And Exams!

SEEDS graduate Danny Santamaria (CPP ’11, University of Tampa ’15) is the author of this guest blog post. Danny shares her tips on helping fellow students prepare for midterms exams.

In the spirit of Halloween, this post will help you tackle those spooky midterms that keep chasing after you— to drain you of your brain power of course!

It is usually this time of year when teachers want to test your knowledge on what you’ve learned thus far in your current term. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s part of their job to make sure you’ve retained information, as well as it is your job to be attentive in all your courses and recall material learned. As a student mentor at the University of Tampa, as well as a fellow student and soon to be graduate *Woo Hoo!*, I have a few tips I’ll share to ease your stress. I’ll make sure to list them in order of importance so that you all can hopefully follow them one at a time.

Let’s tackle those spooky midterms and show them who’s the boss!

#1: Create a timeline: When I say create a timeline, what I really mean is a realistic timeline in which to get your studying done. You want to make sure to keep all other responsibilities (work, rest, etc.) in check and make sure the schedule you set for yourself is one that you can follow. As long as you create something you’re comfortable with, you’re already on your road to stress-free success!

#2: Breathe: It’s easy to get so worked up about upcoming deadlines, but take some time to get mentally prepared for the slight isolation you’ll have from society while you study. I know…it’s like you’re hiding from the zombies or something. Do whatever you know gets your nerves out. Stand up, jump around to get your blood pumping, yell into a pillow (I’m guilty of this), meditate or just breathe.

#3 Skim: Once you’ve gotten all the pre-study jitters out of the way, just skim your notes or textbook. I know this may come as a surprise to you, but it simply is not smart to try and read all 30-something pages of every single chapter that you’re supposed to study for. Glance at your notes and skim the textbook— you’ll be surprised at how much information you actually know. Doing what I previously mentioned ensures that you place priority on material you’re not comfortable with, while allowing you to still remember the material you’re knowledgeable of.

#4 Take breaks: Any successful student will probably tell you they study for hours on end, and this is true. What they don’t always reveal is that they do take these magical rides called study breaks. As a student on her last year of undergrad, I’ve learned that study breaks are simply one of the most valuable things to engage in— that’s if you value your sanity, of course. Clearing your mind of clutter and allowing yourself to just relax for a few minutes at a time allows you to retain information better and build the strength to continue the quest to study. Keep calm and study on, right?

#5 DON’T LEAVE EVERYTHING FOR THE LAST MINUTE!: As you can probably tell, this is one of the most valuable tips I can give you. Do not be that student who tries to learn a terms’ worth of information the night before your exam. Just don’t. Before even creating the timeline I mentioned before, make sure you know what’s at stake. Take a few minutes to determine how many chapters of information is required for you to study. Know if your exam will be multiple choice, true/false, open-ended, fill-in the blanks or a combination of all. The better prepared you are, the less spooked you will be by all these midterms chasing after you!

I hope these five tips have helped shine some light on those not-so-scary midterms. Know that aside from preparing for exams, they will not always be a clear indicator of how intelligent you are. So don’t freak out, don’t be spooked, and don’t think that your teachers are out to zap your brain-power. Embrace the challenge and you’ll see what a success you will be!

Take care all and best of luck conquering your midterms!

Your fellow partner in crime,
Danny Santamaria