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Make the Midterm Dream Your Reality

By Kelli Cole, 2nd-year Life Sciences major

The first month of university has come and gone, and academics mixed with the craziness of being a Queen’s student is starting to catch up with you!  Midterm season is here!  (A.K.A. Late night studying, frantic cramming, microwavable dinners, and a complete loss of control)!  But perhaps, just maybe, this midterm season won’t be this way!  Imagine a world where you could keep on top of your courses, take time to have fun, AND feel confident while walking into those “not-so-dreaded” midterm exams!  What if I told you that this October this dream could be your reality!

Midterms definitely don’t have to be frightening and stressful!  So take a deep breath and check out my top two tips for success this October!

1. Attitude is everything.  Going into midterm season with a positive attitude will not only make you less feel more confident and relaxed, but it will also help you to study more effectively!  It’s definitely not necessary to jump for joy because you’ve got a final coming up.  Nevertheless, try and be conscious of how you respond mentally and physically whenever you think of the upcoming exam! Let’s be honest, every time you mention the exam, you probably are either complaining or stressing about it! Perhaps, maybe just maybe, you tried to go from negative thoughts and reactions to slightly more neutral ones?   It might be a good idea to think to yourself, “I’ve worked hard in this class. This exam is a chance for me to show everything I’ve learned. In fact, it’s going to be a good feeling to prove that I’ve learned a lot.”

Whatever positive thoughts you may tell yourself, altering your attitude (even somewhat) towards midterms might help relieve some tension, which in turn may help you to stay calm and focused when studying!

2.   Take control!  Start by going through your notes and assignments and create a plan! Design a study schedule for yourself based on which subjects need the most work! In fact, Learning Strategies offers a fantastic online resource that contains all the steps to follow for a rockin’ study schedule — our 5-Day Study Plan. This 5-day study plan will walk you through the different stages of studying to make sure that you are as ready as you can be when you sit down for the test. Finally, although it may feel great to study and practice topics you are confident in, focus on topics that may be tricky if they were presented to you on the exam! If you do need to seek help from a prof, T.A., or friend, do so ASAP!  The sooner you get a grasp on what may be troubling you… the better.

Lastly, I just want to remind you not to give up! University is tough, not doubt about it!  Remember that you were accepted to Queen’s for a reason! It is totally normal to feel discouraged at some points during your academic careers, but also don’t be afraid to reach out for help!  There are MANY resources here at Queen’s, the Learning Strategies being one of them!  If you need help drafting a study schedule, advice on how to read for effectively, or even tips on motivation and procrastination… we are the place for you!  Even if we don’t have the specific resource you are looking for, we will match you up with the right one!  Start by following my top two tips for success and help the midterm dream become your reality.

For even more strategies and habits to develop regarding exams, visit our online resources on Exam Prep.

Photo courtesy of Tim Swinson from Flickr Creative Commons.