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How to Study for Midterms in College

Midterms are a stressful time for most college students. The added pressure of major examinations on top of your other college responsibilities can put a lot of pressure on you. If you’re studying medicine in any shape, the pressure is even more intense as the workload is increasingly difficult. This may make you wonder, do midterm grades matter? Yes, they do—especially for pre-health students—so it’s important to learn how to study for midterms. This guide will help.

What Are Midterms in College?

What is a midterm exam? These tests are middle-of-the-term tests that evaluate a student’s knowledge and understanding to that point. They serve as a checkup for the teacher and the student to see if they are on track with their learning.

Midterms can be quite important because many professors will count them as a high percentage of your grade. Do not take them lightly. On the other hand, don’t overthink them, either. It can be tempting to put too much pressure on yourself, and that stress can make it difficult to perform well on your exams.

How Can You Prepare for Midterms?

College midterms require careful preparation, especially if you’re taking multiple classes at the same time. It takes careful and diligent study to be ready for tests in all of your classes. These tips can help.

1. Start Early

Don’t wait until the night or even the week before to start studying. Your brain won’t be able to comprehend all of the information necessary at that point. Instead, start studying at least two weeks before the exam so you can absorb and retain the information well.

2. Create a Schedule

Set up a schedule that you use to study. You’ll want to set aside time each day to study and give yourself time for rest as well. If you study constantly, you’ll retain less of your information than if you study in smaller segments and take breaks between.

3. Study Smart

Find out from your professors what you need to study. Most of the time, you will need to study both the textbook and the class notes, but some professors will tell you that the exams are fully from the notes or fully from the textbook. If you can narrow down your options, that will help your study time to be more efficient. Rather than focusing on rote memory, when possible, try to learn conceptually. Use memorization for those facts that require it.

4. Practice

If you have exams you took throughout the quarter, use them to practice. While the midterm won’t be exactly like these, it can give you a good chance to remember the professor’s way of testing.

5. Grab a Buddy

If you have a friend who is in your class, have them study with you. Working as a team can help you identify areas where you may be missing information so you can work together to fix the missing information. You can also quiz each other. If you have more than one friend, set up a study group situation.

6. Stay Positive

Above all, stay positive. Getting in your head in a negative way can make it difficult to perform well. Negative thinking can hurt your ability to remember information. A positive attitude will go far in helping you perform well on your exams, and it will reduce the amount of stress you face during the exam period.

Test-Day Tips

In addition to studying well, you can prepare yourself for success by the way you prepare on test day. First, even though it’s hard, get plenty of sleep. Staying up to cram, then not getting enough sleep, will often mean that you can’t remember what you’ve studied when test time comes. Sometimes, getting more sleep is more effective than staying up all night to try to stuff more information into your head.

Next, eat breakfast. Protein is helpful in keeping your brain engaged and on track.

When you arrive, make sure you read through the directions carefully so you don’t miss points because you didn’t follow them well. Focus on the key concepts you learned rather than minute details. Answer all of the questions because sometimes a guess is right or worth partial credit. If you find a question you don’t know, don’t panic. Missing one question won’t cause you to fail, but panicking can make it hard to remember the other things you studied.

It can be hard to stay focused while studying, but you can do it. As you prepare, remember this is just one step on the path toward your exciting medical career, and doing your best will get you far.

Get Additional Help with Advanced eClinical Training

As you prepare for your midterms and the rest of your pre-health student experience, consider getting additional training and certification to help your medical career. Advanced eClinical Training offers online medical certifications designed to help undergraduate students gain clinical experience before applying to graduate programs—the courses are completely self-paced, meaning that you can complete them around your existing class or work schedule. Enroll today to take a confident next step on your health career journey.

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