Midterms: How To Love Yourself And Your Score

First semester is flying by and you’ve conquered it all--getting used to the new school year, teachers, social circles, everything. You’ve been tackling assignments, waking up at 6:00 am, and surviving on minimal sleep, completely ready for a new start. With each new challenge you conquer, the light of second semester grows increasingly closer, filled with renewal and promise. There’s only one thing in the way: midterms.

Nobody ever said midterms were easy. In fact, the exams demonstrate a pretty challenging concept. To memorize half of a school year’s worth of material? That can seem like a pretty daunting task. But fear not! You can and will prevail. Here is your guide to being as happy with your score as possible, while continuing to love yourself and feel proud of your accomplishments.

Plan Ahead

Proper time management is a golden rule, and not without good reason! Although cramming the night before might be possible, it isn’t the best way to lock information into your brain. You’ll feel overwhelmed and stressed, which will lower your morale and in turn decrease the likelihood of you retaining information. The solution? Start earlier. Even if your teacher doesn’t give you a direct study guide, you can still plan for what will be on the midterm based on what you’ve learned. There are also many teachers who do not give out review materials at all, so preparing independently is essential. Look through your old notes and begin to make a study sheet for yourself. This way, if/when the study guide is given or review is done in class, you will already have a better idea of the material-- decreasing anxiety and helping to kiss cramming goodbye.

Understand Your Mind

Recognize that everyone studies and memorizes concepts differently, so it is important to take the time to learn what works best for you. There are many types of learners, but the top three are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. At the bare minimum: visual learners learn best by physically seeing information, auditory learners prefer to hear it, and kinesthetic learners enjoy a hands-on approach, or learning by doing. It’s important to figure out what kind of learner you are (being more than one type is totally okay!) to then discover what tactics work best for you to review. For example, you don’t want to waste time repeating facts to yourself if you’d memorize much faster by writing them down. It’s crucial to cater to your personal needs as a learner, to maximize study time and get the best results possible!

Ask For Help

Realize that it is perfectly okay to ask for assistance! All students taking midterms are on a journey together, so support should be available if needed. To ensure you’ll get the help that you need, try to find an ally in each of your subjects. Ideally, this should be someone reliable who pays attention in class, so that he/she can be depended upon for information that you might forget! Remember that helping peers is a two-way experience; you should make yourself available to collaborate with others as well. If you can’t find an ally in every class, remember that the teacher is always an option too. Although teachers might seem slightly intimidating sometimes, the majority of them have students’ best interests at heart. So, if you have a question and can’t find anyone to help you, don’t be afraid to send a teacher an email for clarification. Since teachers administer the class and design the exam, they’ll definitely keep you properly informed!

Find A Good Environment

Studying in a peaceful, quiet place will increase focus. Rather than going for the typical desk, try your favorite easy chair instead. A softer option like a comfy chair or sofa will relax you more than sitting in a rigid, tight position. To avoid distraction at home, you could even try your local library. It’s also a good idea (even though it’s hard) to put the phone away and leave yourself solely with your exam supplies. However, if you’d like to have your phone close by, set it to Airplane Mode to avoid any potentially distracting notifications. You want your time to be used wisely and efficiently--meaning Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram can wait. To increase my desire to unplug, I like to remind myself that social media will always be available to me--but I only get this specific time to devote to studying.

Don’t Forget Yourself

Understand that midterms are a stressful time for everyone, and that it is critical to take time for yourself. Set aside strategically placed study breaks on a specific schedule. For example, you could drill one subject for an hour and then take a ten minute break. During that time you can listen to music, refuel with a snack, or chat with a friend to keep yourself motivated. It’s so easy to get lost in the material and neglect yourself. However, you are the one taking the exam, and deserve credit for making it through the study process. You’ve earned the right to reward yourself for getting through a stressful task. So, go ahead and eat that chocolate bar or jam out. You only get one brain, and the fact that you’re working so hard to cultivate yours should not be overlooked!

After The Exam

Note that comparing your score to others is not the best idea, and can lead to a plummet in self-love and unconfidence in your abilities. What qualifies as a “good” score completely depends on perspective. Only you can dictate if your score is satisfactory. It is not relevant how other students did, because their numbers only pertain to them for their specific life paths. Your path is unlike anyone else’s on the planet, making you completely unique and special. Therefore, it isn’t about the number you get versus everyone else’s; forget about them. Your attitude about your personal achievement is what counts. You studied, worked hard, and got up to take the exam-- that is truly something to be proud of no matter what!