By Scott Lutostanski
It is midterm season for college students. And with midterms comes stress. Our goal when working with students is to help them be as prepared as possible for the exams without feeling the pressures and stress that go with cramming, scrambling, or even pulling all nighters.
How can students reduce exam stress?
The problem that most students run into is not being able to get through all their material or running out of time. These are pretty similar issues. Below are a few simple steps that students can take to make sure they have enough time to prepare for midterms.
The first step for students is to always be looking ahead. A study plan should be put together about 10-14 days out from the day of the midterm. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a student will get started with their studying this far in advance, but it does mean they will know when to start.
Break it Down, Find the Process
The key to building a good study plan is to segment the test into smaller sections. Typically, this means chapters, but it could be lectures, topics, or something else. Once a test is broken down into sections, students can focus on the process they need to learn each section. What are the materials to prioritize? How can I learn this information? When will I know that I can stop? When students create this process, the goal then becomes to repeat this for each section.
Now that students have the smaller sections to study through, they can add checkpoints to their calendar. This includes understanding how much time is needed and the days that work will be happening. This not only helps students stay on track, but it also helps students know if they’re falling behind and gives them time to adjust while still days away from a test, avoiding a stressful, last minute cram session.
Every test that students take they should ask the question, “Do I need help?” They may need to attend office hours, set up a tutoring session, work with a study group, or any other option. These are measures that need to be considered for every single test.