Students all over Canada have been feeling the stresses of midterm exams, and for some, reading week may have come just in time.
But students like Shantelle Bron, a third-year English minor at Concordia University in Montreal, have some tried and true methods of tackling any obstacle midterms may throw at her.
“Midterms for me usually involve both written exams and take home essays,” said Bron in an e-mail interview.
Bron prepares for her midterms by employing different studying tactics specific to her courses, including utilization of a close-knit study group, flash cards, and converting written notes into flowcharts.
“The flow charts work better for English classes in which I must tackle large concepts in a short amount of time,” said Bron.
According to Bron, equally important to studying tactics is the support of classmates and friends.
“I find a study schedule, as well as balancing my school with things I enjoy doing (exercise, cooking) extremely helpful.”
These methods of study can vary from student to student, but the baseline is essentially always the same. Repetition is the key.
“Every midterm I do is different,” said Simran Panang, a third-year kinesiology student at the University of Calgary.
“Depending on the class, I might do flashcards, or paraphrasing notes. Sometimes I listen to audio recordings or YouTube videos if I don’t understand a concept.”
Preparing for, and completing, the midterms is only half the battle, however.
An additional component to full midterm recovery is some valuable post-midterm downtime.
“I always make plans for after midterms,” said Panang.
“It helps having something to look forward to after.”
Although some U of C students might be feeling the pressure of midterms, others seem to have it under control.
“I work well under pressure,” said Monika Serquina, a second-year anthropology student at the U of C.
“But if I’m really stressed about it I plan out my time and stick to it the best I can.”
For Serquina, the midterms can be varied, with tests that can require a number of logic and abstract thinking skills.
“A few others are readings — context base — so if you understand the material and the main ideas, you’re pretty much golden,” said Serquina.
“I read over my notes, write down random things in a notebook, such as ideas or key terms or people, to ingrain it into my memory.”
According to Serquina, those seemingly random and endless scribbles help later on to figure out why the concepts learned were important, and how to apply those concepts to questions in the midterm.
“If the stress is incredibly overwhelming, I allow myself some time to just focus on me, relax my brain before I go right back to studying,” said Serquina.
Serquina also has a word to the wise for other students.
“Stay away from Netflix,” she warns.
“That site brings out a lot of the good stuff when students are back in school, and during midterms rather than on a break,” she said.
(You can read Verge Campus’ post about dealing with midterm stress here.)