Top 3 Tips: Studying for Midterms

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October. One of my favorite months filled with playoff baseball, outrageous Halloween parties, and of course great NFL and college football games! But October is also an incredibly bittersweet month because of one word: Midterms. I find myself sitting in the library on this Sunday night overloaded with work and trying to figure out how I am going to get by the next two weeks. My calendar reads two tests, two papers, one quiz, and three problem sets or in plain English “no sleep for you!”

However, as a 4th year at Virginia I’ve encountered this kind of killer stretch before and every time I seem to come out unscathed and surprisingly well rested. Although midterms aren’t easy they are manageable and as such here are some great tips from around the web that should help you score an A on your hardest test or at least make sure you wake up in time for your exam unlike my friend to the right!

1. Procrastination is your enemy not your friend: Everybody knows that procrastination is bad but yet everybody seems to do it. Let’s be honest, the best time to write a paper is the night before its due, right? Wrong! While you may think you’re performing better, all-nighters impede memory retention and help convince you that attending class is meaningless. So how can you avoid it? Luke Turcotte at Hack College wrote out 5 quick tips for avoiding procrastination and #5 on his list is “Just do it”. Hmm, I thought I was procrastinating because I didn’t want to do it? But seriously it’s a great list and will help you finish your assignments promptly and on time. (via

2. Distribute your studying time wisely and efficiently: Every teacher I have had since elementary school has preached to the class the importance of time management. Managing your time wisely is difficult at times because your schedule is in a constant state of flux and teachers are constantly assigning new material. But that’s OK, college students are incredibly adaptive and as Stefan Knapen notes must students “only study when it is needed”. According to Stefan, college students fall under 3 time distributions and knowing which category you are in will help you understand your study habits. Chances are you already practice good time management, you just don’t know it yet. (via

3. Find the best study spot besides the overcrowded library: First year students tend to forget that there are other spots to study besides the main library and it’s often a crucial mistake. Go off the beaten path just a bit and you’ll find study nooks that you didn’t think possible. Good places to start are law, business, and fine art libraries or search for empty classrooms that you can use for group study sessions. Don’t know what to look for in a good study area? Dan N provides a recipe for the perfect study session with the three main ingredients being lighting, comfort, and distraction. Maximizing comfort while minimizing distractions will increase memory retention and help you study quickly and more efficiently. (via

Chances are if you read this far you’re probably procrastinating from finishing an important paper or studying for a test. But that’s OK, relax! Although I have a tough two weeks ahead of me, all I can think about right now is that the San Francisco Giants are NL West Champions! Probably not the best way to study but hey, I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again just like you will. Good luck on your midterms and happy studying!

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