Some people say food brings people together, but nothing huddles students together like the five days of midterm exams. Many of them strategically tackled midterms in different ways.
First, most started with the basics: planning. Some had planners and agendas while others used their tablets and phones to keep track of their time management. Senior Seth Whyte (CT) said, “I forget a lot. So during class, I actually write post-in notes on every textbook or notebook. As soon as I get to my room, I put the things into my phone reminders.”
On the other hand, nursing student Janina Rafols (So., CT) systemized all her time for efficiency. “I always start a week ahead and I plan everything,” she said. “I write every hour down on my planner and plug in what I should be doing at the time. I schedule which subject I will study for each hour. I even write in when I nap.”
The next big factor was location. Some students could fight off drowsiness and study on their beds; some took refuge in the library; others needed other environments to get better results like in coffee shops or relaxing places.
“I don’t know how, but my brain operates much more easily being surrounded by books, people reading, and coffee scent,” alumnus Joseph Florendo (’16) said as he reminisced on how he enjoyed studying in Barnes & Noble for its peaceful ambience.
Sarah Burdios (So., NY) said, “Sometimes, I study while I work out. Moving a lot and sweating out the stress while still memorizing some terms and concepts really helps to keep my brain running and engaged. Making acronyms also makes me memorize faster while doing my reps.”
The third factor was the study method itself. “I never have just one single study method,” said grad student Angelika Wilson (VA). “I always combine different ways. Reading through all the notes, making study cards, color-coding and breaking down each chapter, having study groups and quizzing each other—these all help me hear the material in many different ways.”
“Prioritizing on specific subjects is more important than studying every single chapter,” said Continea Maynes-Charles (Sr., Antigua). “I typically focus on parts I don’t really understand then move to those that I have forgotten. Especially in upper-level classes, you’ll learn to master the concepts because most of the times it’s all about application.”
For many students, however, what mattered the most was time. Students typically use study intervals, alternating between their study and other activities. Sophomore Sterling Grinnell (CO) said, “I spend 20 minutes studying and 20 minutes doing something I want. I work in those intervals to keep my short attention span engaged in the work.”
Making time to rest was the last essential tactic students used to get the best outcome. “If I study nonstop in my dorm room, I’ll fall asleep right away. I usually treat myself if I’ve been studying for a while, and I like to take breaks—with food, walking around, or even talking with my roommates—so I’m not stuck for hours on one class,” said Micah Simmons (Sr., NV).
Overall, students chose what worked best for them and brought their best game to face the Midterm Madness.