My last few midterms for Psychology went quite successfully, so I wanted to share some things I did to prepare for them!
1. Read textbook before coming to class. Take notes on the key terms and leave some blank spaces between the terms.
2. In class, listen closely and add lecture notes to the textbook notes. I’ve found that it works best for me that way. My textbook notes are written in black and the lecture notes are added in blue. I’ve always been worried about integrating my notes, but it seems that this certain color coding technique works out nicely! I take notes with this app called Goodnotes, here’s a screenshot:
3. Make flashcards along with the lecture. Every day after school I take out my notes (remember, textbook and lecture notes) and make quick flashcards. It ends up being about 10-15 a day and if you make them online (Quizlet, StudyBlue, etc.), it only takes about 20-30 minutes + is a good review.
4. At the end of each unit, do practice problems. This is what active learning is all about: bringing up information from your memory to eventually get it transferred to the long term memory. Also, go over whatever questions you got wrong, look up the material in the textbook and make sure you understand why the answer is what it is.
5. A couple days before the test, go through all the flashcards and quiz yourself. StudyBlue is very nice because it lets you mark your answers as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and then you can study only the ‘wrong’ ones, or least studied cards, etc. Highly recommend it!
6. Sit down and go through your notes, quizzing yourself. To make this easier, take notes in the Cornell fashion. You can cover up the definitions and identify the terms without peaking. This is a nice addition to the flashcards. Another option is to have someone actually grab your notes and ask you what you know about each topic.
7. Also a couple days before, take some practice tests if they are available. Again, look up wrong answers and material in the textbook/notes and understand it.
8. Day of the test- do a final review of your notes by reading everything again. Drink some coffee or juice (much healthier and gives you an energy boost!), and eat a little bit. Leave your room or library ten minutes early and take a walk around campus. Fresh air will get your brain working.
9. Pass the test.