Midterms 2020: How to Create a Study Plan and Other Tips



Practice testing and distributed practice are the most effective study strategies

With midterm exams coming up, it is important to start preparing accordingly to make the most of your time. It can be helpful to make a study plan, especially if you are busy.  Start by reviewing your schedule. When do you have practice? Are there any family functions you have to go to? Integrate these events into your schedule and plan around them so you can maximize the amount of material you cover.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, practice testing and distributed practice are the most effective study strategies.  

Testing yourself on the material is crucial to retaining the most information.  This allows you to figure out what you know and what you need to study more. Sometimes, making a Quizlet is not enough to solidify the information that you are trying to learn, so it can be helpful to use other methods of self-testing.  For example, textbooks often have a self-assessment section at the end of each chapter – try using this to test yourself. You could even ask the teachers for supplemental worksheets, or websites that can help you learn the material better.  A great resource for studying and learning is Khan Academy. Khan Academy has articles, videos, and quizzes for students to use. 

As for distributed test practice, make sure to start reviewing material early so that you avoid cramming.  Cramming will stress you out, cause you to lose sleep, and prove to be ineffective. That being said, if you find that you have somehow evaded studying for midterms until it’s almost too late, study a generous amount the weekend before midterms (January 17th-20th). Block off a few hours each day and plan out 45-minute study sessions with a five to ten-minute break in between each.  Giving yourself a break at the end of each study session will motivate you to focus on the material. Also, rotating the subject matter will prove to be beneficial as it will allow you to study for each exam. This means that putting away the cell phone and setting timers has the potential to maximize the amount of material you cover and understand.  Due to the quantity of material covered during midterm week, it is likely that you will need to go through the rotation a few times.

This can be done over the course of a few days!  Make sure that you understand which materials you need to focus on more so that your studying can be more effective.  You can also repeat this or adjust it so that your time and attention is well spent.

Example Schedule

English Pre-Calculus Chemistry History French
30 mins
45 mins
45 mins
15 mins

** Insert 5 to 10-minute break after each subject

Sleep is essential to conquering midterms, so make sure to fit an early bedtime into your schedule as well!  Sleeping improves your ability to focus and make logical decisions, so staying up all night to study will most likely be detrimental to your performance on each test.

And, remember:  a midterm is just a test and will not change the course of your life!  The stress of cumulative tests is overwhelming, but preparation can help you relieve anxiety and make the most of your study time.  Good luck and happy studying!