17 Awesome ways to dominate Midterms in 2017

February 13, 2017

It may seem like you just moved into your dorm room, met your roommate, unpacked your clothes and attended your first big lecture. But, guess what? You’re already almost halfway through this term of classes, and that can only mean one thing — MIDTERMS!!!!

Although this concept has been known to drive people to the brink of sanity — mostly due to lack of sleep, caffeine consumption, and stress — rest (pun intended) assured that you can survive these daunting exams! Heck, you may even be able to ace them without even breaking a sweat. Just follow these study tips for college midterm exams and you’ll breeze through midterm week!

1. Skim: On midterm eve, you may be tempted to open up your chemistry book and read every word of chapters 1-55 (each chapter being approximately 35 pages). Don’t! This is a waste of time. Instead, focus on chapter headings, footnotes, the course syllabus (the subjects listed on here are probably the ones the professor deems most important), study questions, and chapter reviews.

2. Don’t cram: On this same note, don’t wait until the night before your exam to begin studying for it. Instead, begin preparing now! A September 6, 2012 article titled “Prepare Not For College Midterm Exams,” posted on SayCampusLife by Matthew C. Keegan offers some great tips on time management so you can get a head start on your upcoming midterms. Setting aside study time, reviewing notes from class, and planning early will help you feel prepared, says Keegan.

Dont Cram

3. Attend review sessions, study groups: You may be tempted to skip out on that review session or study group being held by your TA, but this could be a huge mistake. Most of the time, these study sessions cover the main exam topics, and TAs usually let more than a few exam questions slip during these meetings.


4. Enjoy the silence: If you aren’t attending a study session, find a quiet place where you can stay focused and uninterrupted — the library, an empty classroom, the park. Your dorm room may seem like the most obvious place, but have a plan B ready for when the distractions hit (and they will).

5. Disconnect: Facebook, Pintrest, Twitter, and email are all unnecessary distractions, so while studying, disconnect for an hour or so. You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish when technology doesn’t get in the way.

6. Figure out what will be on the exam: No, this doesn’t require any mind reading abilities, but it does require you to listen and pay close attention to your professor. A 2010 post by Jeremy S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs for the U.S. News & World Report titled “8 Clues to Figuring Out That College Midterm” offers up ideas such as using old exams to study and giving that review sheet another glance.

7. Meet with your professor: Stop by office hours to discuss difficult concepts, ask questions about lecture material, or just to find out what types of topics the midterm will cover. You may be surprised at how much your professor is willing to share.

8. Stay healthy: During midterms, it’s easy to overindulge on junk food, up your caffeine intake, and basically suspend all personal hygiene (you won’t be interacting with anyone anyway) — never mind the fact that you have no time to make it to the gym. Don’t fall into this rut. Instead, schedule time for healthy meals and regular exercise, and don’t forget about that shower! You may just find that these breaks help you stay focused.

9. Take breaks: Consequently, a 12-hour marathon study session won’t do anything but make you crazy. Instead, take short breaks every hour or so, even if only for 10 minutes. Leave your study area when you do — that bit of fresh air may be just what you needed to clear your head.

10. Relaxation, preparation, and time management: It’s finally here! Midterm day! Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. Instead, check out CollegeAtlas’ post titled “Test Taking Strategies for College Midterms and Finals” (i.e. using the restroom before the exam begins and not spending too much time on a difficult question) to help ensure that you go into your midterm stress free and ready to ace that exam!

Follow these top ten tips, and you’ll be in a far better position to ace those midterms and ever-approaching final exams!


Midterm studying requires some serious concentration, and the best way to get it is to find a quiet, comfortable place. Fortunately, there are tons of great options for study spots on campus, like the 5th floor Quiet Room in CBB or the study carrels in M.D. Anderson Library. Pay attention to how much silence you need to focus when deciding whether to go to a quiet spot or a busy coffee shop.

Study spots


According to several research studies, students who sit in the front and middle of a classroom earn higher test scores than those who sit in the back, and it’s not just because higher achieving students like to sit up front. When a group of students were randomly assigned seats in the class, one study found that those closer to the front still ended up with higher grades. This is probably due to the fact that they could listen and hear better, had less exposure to distractions and felt greater pressure to maintain eye contact with the professor.


Did you know that chewing one flavor of gum when you study and then again during your exam can help you remember certain details you might otherwise have forgotten? As long as your professor allows it, add a pack of your favorite flavored gum to your must-have study materials.

Clueless chew gum


Doodling in class can actually help you remember things better… as long as it’s relevant to the subject material. Research shows that since most of us are visual learners, using drawings to memorize important pieces of information can help jog our memory during exams. So go ahead and put your best art skills to practice on those statistics or accounting notes.

Draw something


One of the best ways to make sure you’re familiar with certain subject material is to try to teach it to someone else. Get together with a friend before your exam day and take turns explaining different topics to each other. It’ll give you a chance to make sure you have a complete understanding of the material, plus you’ll benefit from an outside perspective.


Multiple-choice tests are a mixed blessing — they increase your chances of getting the answer right, but the several answer choices can also be confusing. Prevent this by trying to answer each question before you glance at the answer choices. Once you’re sure of what the correct answer is (or if you can’t remember at all), move on to the multiple choices.

draw something

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