Tips for Surviving Midterms and Finals

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Mt. Pleasant Library

Tips for Surviving Midterms and Finals

Test taking can be stressful, overwhelming, and boring for almost all students. Finding ways to cope and relieve stress will help increase focus and grades on midterms, finals, or any other test throughout the year. The following are tips and actions students all ages and all test-taking needs can use to decrease stress and increase scores. 
 
  1. Take care of yourself. While some may spend long nights cramming the night before the test, sometimes it is better to put the books down and get a long night of sleep. Take a bath, read a book, talk with friends to take a 15-30 minute break from study sessions to help keep the mind alert and focused.
  2. Take a practice test. While this can be very time consuming, it is extremely effective at preparing students for tests, especially standardized tests, such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, etc. Take free online practice tests to get familiarized with the test. If you do not want to spend this extra time looking over the entire test, keep the format in mind while preparing.The library also have test-taking guides located in the non-fiction section on the lower level. For normal classroom tests such as midterms, finals, projects, etc., turn study guides and old tests provided by teachers or peers into practice tests. Before your study session, take a practice test to know what needs to be focused on and studied the most, then take one after your study sessions to help instill topics and themes from throughout the year.
  3. Eat and drink something before taking the test. Eating breakfast or even just a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts, granola bars, etc. will help you focus during the test by keeping cravings away. If you drink caffeine products, drinking a coffee or energy drink for a test in the morning will help get the brain awake and keep it awake, especially after long nights of studying or procrastination. 
  4. If you do not study, briefly look over the year's tests and major assignments on the night before and day of the test to refresh your memory on major themes learned throughout the year.
  5. Find a quiet place to study by yourself or with peers. Go to a local cafe, your local library (to use the general space or for independent study rooms), or anywhere that you can focus.
  6. Watch videos based on test topics. Watch topic-based YouTube or educational videos attentively or simply use them as background noise while doing chores or various, non-studying, tasks. 
  7. Manage your time. Figure out the classes for which you actually need to spend time studying or working on projects. If you're strong in one area don't spend too much time on it; only focus on the projects and tests you need to, especially when cramming the night before.
  8. Do it with friends. Whether it's over video chat or in real life studying or working on final projects with friends will make time spent much more enjoyable. 
  9. Before the testing day or week begins, organize your school work. Keep and file any work that may be useful in the future, especially old quizzes and unit tests, and throw out any work that might be taking up room in your folder or binder. 
  10. Be realistic. Set realistic goals for yourself and understand your limits. If you are not studious or don't do well in certain classes, don't set goals for yourself that are too far out of your reach. Set studying and performance goals for motivation to work harder and not to disappoint yourself if you don't see yourself where you want to be.
  11. Write everything down. If your midterm or final includes finishing an individual or group project, write down everything that needs to be done and when. Whether you keep the information in a planner or on your phone, write it all down so that you don't forget anything, so as not to lose easy points, and so that you can keep track of what has already been done. 
Overall, don't stress too much about your test or project and take care of yourself first before studying and working. Manage your time well and sleep as much as you can.