Midterm Myths Debunked

We all know that midterms suck. We’re all dreading them. Here are 3 midterm myths we all know are deadly, but for some reason can’t shake off.

1. Cramming

Some will argue that pulling an all nighter and studying the night before helps to keep things fresh in their minds, and they therefore “feel” more prepared for the exam. But… Did you know that it’s during sleep that your brain really begins to sort and organize the material acquired from the day?  Sleep is more important than you think. It’s when your body gets a moment to relax and absorb it all.

Here’s an alternative. Try spreading your study time out evenly over the duration of the course. Also try studying in short, yet concise, study periods. Any more than 2 or 3 hours can wear your body and brain out. Another great tip is to try and review any new lecture material immediately after the lecture, or as soon as your schedule allows. This way these concepts are less likely to be forgotten.

2. Your “study spot” 

We all gravitate towards our favourite place to study, but did you know your brain enjoys a change of scenery every once in a while? As weird as this may seem, the brain actually associates what it is learning with what’s happening in the background.

Nicely put, “changing the background environment helps slow the forgetting of material by enriching the information the student is absorbing.” (Courtesy of Dr. Harstein from Sundial writer Lisa Anderson)

3. Onze size fits all study method

No one is built exactly the same way. Our brains all function in a different way. So fittingly, there is no universal study method that works for everyone. Wouldn’t that make everything so much simpler though? Find your own balance between study periods, a healthy diet, physical exercise, proper sleep and a well rounded study routine.

Personally, I work best in the morning so I try and get up a bit earlier to do some homework before leaving for morning class. As you get into the swing of things, you’ll find a method that works best for you. Remember, however, that the study habits you develop now will be the ones that stick with you for the rest of the semester. So, make sure they’re good habits!

Other helpful tips


Now is the time to make sure you attend ALL of your classes, if you haven’t been doing so already. You have more than paid for your courses, so why not actually attend them? Around midterm season professors are most likely giving out valuable tips to studying and possibly even hints on midterm materials you will be tested on.

Next step, get caught up on your readings and plan to stay on top of them for finals. It is so easy to fall behind in weekly readings in class, but soon you’ll be expected to know the main messages and key points from all of those past readings for your exam. And they can sure pile up. Try not to save these until last minute. It makes the material that much less enjoyable to get through, and we all know how dry some of it can be. As hard as it may be, try to actively engage yourself in your readings and make them seem at least bearable. You will thank yourself later for that.

Make sure you are focused, alters and attentive during your study sessions to ensure optimal retention. (It’s also great time management!) Be certain to free yourself of distractions and engage in your material. Who knows, it may be fun and you might even learn something. 😉



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