Tips for midterm exams

Sure, you’ll do most of your studying in the weeks and days leading up to your miderm exams. But there are also some smart things you can do right before your tests to boost your midterm grades.

Tips For The Night Before Your Midterm

Get your zzz's.

A good night’s sleep will leave you with a sharper mind. We've heard this relaxation tip works well: Lie down and tense, then relax, the muscles of your body starting with your feet and slowly working up to your head. By the time you finish, you’ll feel calm and ready for a restful night of sleep.

Pack a bag.

Gather up all the gear you’re going to need to take your midterm—your graphing calculator and sharpened pencils for calculus, looseleaf paper and pens (check that they work!) for your English essay test, and any other school supplies. Make sure you pack extra writing pens and paper and even back-up batteries for your calculator just in case. Knowing you have everything you might possibly need will make you feel confident during your midterm exam.

Morning of your Midterm Tips

Breakfast is key.

Brain-boosting meals like yogurt mixed with granola and blueberries or scrambled eggs and a glass of orange juice will give you energy and you won’t be distracted during your test by a growling stomach. Be careful not to eat a heavy meal. It could make you groggy and zap your focus.

Get comfy.

Wear loose clothing, use the bathroom before the test starts, and bring a bottle of water, if allowed. That way you’ll be able to keep your distractions to a minimum once the midterm test begins.

Last minute review.

We don’t recommend cramming before a test, but it it's a smart idea to look over your study packet or notes in the hour or so before the midterm actually starts. A quick scan of dates or definitions will ensure that the material is still fresh in your mind as you head into your exam.

Once the Midterm Exam Begins

Slow down.

Take your time reading over the directions and make sure you are clear on what you’re being asked to do. For example, you don’t want to lose points for defining a biology term instead of giving an example just because you read the directions too fast. Likewise, read every question carefully. Don’t assume it’s the same math problem from your homework or the last quiz.

Remember to manage your time.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and save it for later. You can go back to your skipped questions once you’re done answering the ones you do know.

Outline your essays.

If you’re asked to write an essay on your midterm, take a moment to consider what you want your essay to say before you start writing. Jot down some of your key points if you can—your test will read better and you won’t waste time crossing things out. Then take a deep breath to clear your head and begin.

Stay the whole time.

If you’ve just finished the last question with time to spare, take the opportunity to double-check your math or re-read your written answers. You might even recall a new detail and pick up some additional points!

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