Midterms and study tips

Nov. 9, 2017, 7:06 p.m.

For many, college is full of firsts.

First time leaving your home for an entirely new campus. First roommate(s). First classes in large lecture halls with 600 others you fear know a lot more than you do. First time realizing that no matter how late your first class is, it is still too early (how did we survive 8 a.m. classes every day of high school?). And finally, the moment each freshman dreads:

First midterms.

For me, it was a 9:35 a.m. Economics I exam the morning of Oct. 16. Walking into Cemex Auditorium surrounded by around 150 other students, I had no idea how I’d take an exam in a lecture hall. I’ve never taken a test on a pull-out desk before, where I couldn’t spread out my pens and testing materials. I very quickly learned the true meaning of conserving space and taking advantage of the empty desk next to me (thank you alternating seating!). Here are a few other things I learned:

  1. Find a good study spot where you won’t get distracted. If you can’t stay focused in your dorm, don’t worry! There are plenty of other amazing places (with food, of course) that you can hit up. So far, my favorites are the Lathrop Café, the main floor of Green Library and the Oval. It’s surprisingly de-stressing to sit on the grass outside and study, the wind gently blowing against your textbook. Another reason the West Coast > anything!
  2. Find a study group! My dorm has a Google Doc list detailing who is in which class, so it’s easy to meet up with classmates and discuss course material. Studies have proven that you’re much more successful if you work with others, so take advantage of those around you.
  3. Get a head start on studying, and try not to procrastinate on other assignments. The more prepared you feel, the less stressed you will be going into the midterm. Even though it’s hard, try to stay on top of your other classes while studying. The last thing you need is to realize that you have a P-Set due at 1:30 p.m. on the day of your midterm.
  4. Try to go to bed at a not-so-ungodly hour the night before your midterm. Also, five extra minutes of sleep is a worthy sacrifice if it means you can eat breakfast before a morning exam. Your stomach will thank you later.

Good luck!


Got any more midterm study tips? Contact Lauren Fishman at lfishman ‘at’ stanford.edu.


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