Monday, October 14, 2013

Midterm Mania!

It’s that time of the year again – the dreaded midterms are here and they have just declared a war against your sanity! I have always been a huge believer of studying hard but over the years of my undergrad study I have come to realize that the better option is to study smart and not particularly hard! What is the distinction you might ask?
  • Studying smart translates to actively listening on the lectures, taking down the key words used by the professor during the lecture, trying to identify the key areas in the chapter and focusing on them, avoiding cramming at the end .. and the list goes on but you get the idea!
  • An effective approach is to design your plan of study for a test according to the anticipated format of the test. The strategy to study for a multiple choice exam would be totally different one from the strategy you would employ to study for a short answer test or an essay exam. Don’t shy away from asking your professors for the format of the test or even to post a couple sample questions so that you get an idea of their expectations.
  • Identify your style of learning - whatever worked for your friend doesn't necessarily work for you. Don’t feel anxious and doubt your learning just because your friend’s style of learning seems more organized than yours. Flash cards, taking elaborate notes, designing mind maps for each topic/chapter are some of the techniques different people use to study and organize the course content. Discover the various styles of learning and stick with the one you feel gave you more productive results.
  • Multiple choice tests aren't as bad as they are believed to be, provided you study right for it! The crucial thing I think on a multiple choice test is to pay close attention to the question. Sometimes the question involves a double negative, It could ask you to pick the most incorrect answer rather than the most correct answer. No matter how many words the question has, make sure that you are reading each and every word of the question. Highlighting the key words in the question is also a great idea to make sure that you aren't missing or misreading the important words in the questions
  • Coming from a Mathematics background, I feel responsible for sharing a couple strategies around preparing for Math. So here they are - Clearly printing your answers and drawing a box around your final answer is always a good idea. Always put in all the steps necessary leading to the final answer, simply printing the final answer raises a lot of questions around ownership and its source. Skip the question that you are not sure about and go to the ones you know the answer to, then come back to the ones you have left initially. 

And lastly, Don't let the anxiety get the best of you and manage your time wisely, both while preparing for and writing the midterm!

Good Luck!

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