Midterm Exam Study Tips

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Midterm exams started at my school today, which is always such a fun week of the year (just kidding, haha). It's crazy to think that 3 years ago, I was taking my first midterm ever and now, I have one semester left of high school. I would like to think that I have learned about how to study and what to do during exam week to get the best results so I decided to share some tips and tricks that I've learned from my experience so far with y'all!

Actually Sleep
Now is not the time to start pulling all nighters and cutting back majority on your sleep. Spending an extra two hours awake studying will definitely not help you on the exam the next day as you will be too tired to focus and to do your best work. Even though it's hard, try to stick to a normal-ish sleep schedule or even try to get to bed a few minutes earlier than usual.

Review your Notes
This is where I typically start my studying. Take all of your notes, whether they're hand-written or typed, and look them over. Take note of concepts/terms that you need more review/practice on.

Make a Study Guide
For exams, I spend most of my time studying making or working on a study guide for the test. Some of my teachers give us study guides to work from but if you don't have a study guide for the class, make your own using old quiz or test questions or the main concepts in your notes and textbook. I generally try to make my study guides as detailed as possible to include everything that may be on the exam.

Make a Quizlet
After I make my study guide (which I do on my laptop), I sometimes copy and paste it into Quizlet to make a quizlet for the information. The repetition of the material is really helpful to me for the exam and quizlet has a lot of features that are useful in studying, such as their games or the tests they make for you out of the material in your quizlet.

Utilize Review Days in Class
At my school, teachers typically devote the last two or three class days of the semester to exam review and this is such a great resource. Be sure to come in prepared with any and all concepts and take notes on what you review as this is super helpful when it comes time to study for the exam.

Ask your Teacher if you have any questions
Start reviewing a week or two before the exam so that you can either ask your teacher if you need help on a particular topic of the course or just general questions about the exam (what is the format of the test?, is it a scantron?, what topic would you say I should study the most?, etc.). I personally have found this helpful to do and it doesn't hurt to ask questions.

If available, watch Crash Course videos
If you're not familiar with Crash Course, they are 10 to 15 minutes videos created by John Green (the author of The Fault in our Stars) and Hank Green and their team that quickly teach you about pretty much any topic under the sun. I haven't used Crash Course a lot this year, but I used it a ton last year, especially for Biology and AP United States History. They are definitely a great study tool if you need some extra help and to sort of relearn a topic for the exam.

Make time for "me time"
Exams are generally very stressful but having too much stress is definitely not a good thing and can actually decrease your performance (fun facts from AP Psychology y'all). When I come home from an exam, I typically give myself a hour to relax before starting to study for my next exam, whether that be making and eating lunch, catching up on the Bachelor, or going on Pinterest. Even though it may seem you don't have a lot of time, be sure to include working out into your exam week schedule as working out is a great stress reliever as well. And once you finish studying for the night, be sure to give yourself a little bit of me time, whether that me time is 15 minutes of reading a book for fun, taking a bath, or watching your favorite show on Netflix. Incorporating me time will help you avoid an exam week freak out and make your week more pleasant.

Switch up your study space
I do most of my homework/studying in my bedroom but during exam week, I definitely find it helpful to switch up my scenery every once in a while so I don't get too stir crazy. I'll switch between working in my room with working in the guest room, office, or kitchen and then sometimes I'll go study at Panera or Starbucks.

Bring pencils
Fun fact about me: I hate the texture of regular pencils. I use mechanical pencils whenever I can but the brand of mechanical pencils I like isn't a number two pencil so for tests, I always make sure to bring a few sharpened pencils in case that the test is a scantron. I like being prepared for tests and avoiding having to ask everyone if I could borrow a pencil, so I always make sure I have sharpened pencils just to be prepared, which never hurts!

Study for the most important exam first
In years past, I have had two exams each day for most of exam week so I study for whichever exam comes first the next day first. I view this as the most important as it is the closer exam. This year, I am fortunately able to exempt out of some of my exams since I am a senior, but prioritizing is so helpful!

Pack the essentials
My school has half days for exams so this week, for example, I will not be able at school all day so I will not be bringing my tote bag I typically bring for school in for exams. I typically pack a smaller tote (like this Kate Spade one I showed y'all inside of two summers ago) with the essentials: my agenda, my pencil pouch, my wristlet + phone, my laptop, and books for the class I'm taking an exam in. I typically don't need a lot for each class during exam week so it's much easier to bring a smaller bag. I always make sure to bring a snack and a water too!

How do you prepare for exams? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I had never used quizlet but i knew people that have and that it really helped them out a lot with studying!

  2. Ooh where were you when I was in school forever ago?! Passing this list on to my baby sister, who's currently a sophomore in college.

  3. These are such great tips!! I especially love that you said to make time for sleep. That's when our brain moves things from short term memory to long term memory, so it really is essential!

  4. Great tips! I never used quizlet but it sounds awesome

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

  5. these are great tips!!! I need to make time to sleep more haha.

  6. These are really good tips for midterm studying! Best of luck to you!

  7. Great tips! So would've loved them when I was in college. Sleeping was always the hardest thing for me, lol. I'm such a night owl.

  8. These are great tips! Fortunately, my semester just started yesterday but I will need to keep these in mind for March!

  9. These are all great tips! Teachers can be so helpful when it comes to midterms and finals.

  10. I so could have used these tip[s while I was in school- midterms and finals can be rough!

  11. Taking time to relax is important. It's all about balance!

  12. Love these tips! I love making study guides, they help me so much!

    Kayla |

  13. Sleep is so important while studying! So many people forget that.

    xo //

  14. These are very useful tips, and are applicable for any exams in general. I will keep some of these things in mind as I’m making a study plan to prepare for my Bar exams. It’s quite hard to pass in this exam so I’ve joined a reputed Bar Exam Prep course to get guidance from the experienced faculties.


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