It has almost been a month since the new semester started. As October approaches, students will have to adjust to the heaping amount of midterm exams and papers in a couple of weeks. Exams are anxiety-provoking as always, but here are a few tips to ease the exam preparation a little bit.
Make sure your notes and handouts are complete. Every student has a different note-taking style, but generally it is hard to write down everything you want in class. Before the midterm season is here, it may be a good idea to go back to your notes and see if everything is clear enough for later review. Sometimes looking at your classmate's notes is a good way to make up the information you missed. It is also important to check and see if you have all the handouts, old homework, and quizzes in hand. This way you don't need to worry about missing something when you do the actual review.
Make reviewing a routine. Don't wait until the week before the exam to review your materials. Research shows that once someone learns new information, he may forget most of it after one week if the information is not revisited. Good news is that there is a nice remedy for that. If you set aside a small amount of time by the end of every day (no need to be more than half an hour) to look through the new knowledge you learned that day, you will find it much easier to remember it by the time you prepare for exams.
Get your questions answered. It is common that all students have questions along the way of studying. What makes a difference is how students treated these questions. Students who get their questions answered usually have a more solid understanding of the materials. It may take you a while to find the most comfortable way to do that. Some students may ask in class or in study groups; some may want to have the conversation more private (for example, during office hours). If you don't want to ask questions in person, you may try emailing your professor or TA, if that is an option.
Make a study plan. A clear, specific study plan goes a long way for exam preparation. You may start with listing all the things you need to review or practice for an exam. The list may look overwhelming, but just bear with it for a second. The next step is to prioritize the things on your list. Once you decide on which ones need to be reviewed first, go to your calendar to find times for them. One tip is to be very specific about when, where, and what you are you are going to review. A good example is: "2-3:30pm Friday, Oct 4, in Walter Library, second floor, general studying area; review Chemistry book chapter 2 and 3". Once you get the study time in your calendar, treat it like a class you have to go to.
Last but not least: Take care of yourself. October is a busy time for students, but it is also the most colorful month in the year. In the midst of all the studying, don't forget to go out, get a nice view of the leaves changing colors, and enjoy the nice fall fresh air!
Hope you all have a rewarding October!