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How To: Midterms

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How To: Midterms

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It’s no secret that taking tests is generally a painful experience. This is especially true in the case of midterms and finals. I’m hardly the type to get nervous, but even then, I find myself getting particularly antsy when crunch time rolls around. I’m haunted by doubts:

  • Have I studied enough?
  • What if I forget everything?
  • Is what I’ve been studying actually going to be on the test?
  • What if when I sit down to take my test, I get so nervous that I slip in my seat, fall to the ground, and get a concussion? I wouldn’t be able to take my test and I would fail!
  • What if I study so hard that the information overload causes me to overwrite basic human functions like breathing and I DIE!?

Yeah, something like that. Fortunately, in spite of my dark worries and toxic paranoia, I’ve found that the answer is always “yes, I am ready”. Here are some of the things I do to keep myself sufficiently prepared for exams.

  1. Don’t try to cram. Establish small but meaningful study periods throughout the day. The human brain cannot be expected to simply handle an information overload the way you expect. Your brain is too busy multitasking important things like walking and chewing bubblegum at the same time. I find that a handful of 15-20 minute periods through the day, reviewing the same thing until I’ve got it, generally works. It’s also significantly less painful than trying to cram for 4+ hours because you waited til the last minute
  2. Relax. Your teacher isn’t trying to fail you, they only really want to make sure that you’ve actually learned what you should have been learning. So long as you’re doing all of your homework, and regularly putting in vague amounts of time, it’s very unlikely you’ll actually fail. More than likely, you’ll know the majority of the stuff you’re being tested about… Unless they are trying to fail you, in which case forget everything I’ve said. Moving on!
  3. Give yourself a purpose. Having something to work toward helps a lot with sharpening your focus. You may be thinking, “But Jordan, I already have a purpose! I want to pass my exams so I don’t fail and get choked out by student loans, for nothing!” You wouldn’t be wrong to be concerned about that. Nevertheless, student loans are not a tangible thing for most of us. We understand, logically, that it’s no joke. But it’s easy to push it aside when you’ve yet to actually be sent to the shadow realm over it. Small, tangible goals will help you a lot in maintaining your focus.
  4. Understand that being nervous and being unprepared are not mutually exclusive. It’s natural to feel nervous when doing something that has  a lot of stakes. If you’ve put in the effort, though, you should know better. This applies to your finals too, since they’re basically the same thing. Just trust yourself a little more and quit being so spooked. You’ve got this, champ.



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