A procrastinator’s guide to mid-terms


Madeline Smyser

My typical Sunday night studying session as an underclassmen

Hadley Hudson, Staff Reporter

Exams are tomorrow. Materials are spread across my desk and I am quickly and anxiously typing at my computer and scribbling on my paper. Notecards cover any space left, and 37 different pens lay in a 2 foot radius around me.

This is how I tend to study for my midterms, or any exams, for all of my school experience. Now that I’m an upperclassmen, I’ve learned from my many studying mistakes. My main screw-ups were my major procrastination and my questionable studying techniques.

My first real exam was a rather intense science exam at the end of freshman year. I had just moved to a new school during the second semester and I was supposed to take a final exam of the whole year, when I had learned basically none of it. The material itself was easy, but my handling of that material is how I ended up with a C on the exam. First, I held off studying an entire year of material until the night before. The night before. A whole year of science. Yes, my procrastination was intense. Secondly, the subjects I studied were random and not important, and I studied them in a strange order. When I took the exam (honestly, extremely easy), I freaked out because I didn’t study any of the content on the actual test. The entire test was questions about sedimentary rocks, volcanoes, and moon cycles and somehow I managed to mess that up.

First off, procrastination (see that procrastination joke in there?). Actually getting up and doing work is tough, especially if you are a certified lazy person- which I can be, I have a doctorate in laziness. I am also super disorganized and that doesn’t help either. So, I have adjusted to the idea of actually studying by implementing some mild organization into my routine. My tiny adjustments that I have utilized aren’t very difficult and have helped hugely to mend my failures as a student.

  1. The To-Do List: The best way to achieve the ultimate organized persona that everyone strives to finally have is to make a shiny, beautiful to-do list. Personally, I get myself a piece of scrap paper (a torn paper is preferable, so I won’t have to throw those away with no use) and I quickly go over my notes for the class and, to make sure that I am studying the right material for the class, I make sure to put the major points of each unit on the list. For example, if it was the ridiculous science exam I would put “Study the Types of Rocks- Sedimentary…” I forgot the rest of the types of rocks because it’s pointless, totally not because I straight up never studied about them…
  2. An Actual Schedule: Whoa! Never would’ve thought about doing this one! But, making a schedule really helps me and any procrastinator with that problem. I usually do it by saving a certain amount of time for studying and then a certain amount for breaks. This also really helps when I have multiple classes to study for. For example, if I had the ridiculous science exam and an exam in English as well, my schedule could say “Science- 4:00-5:00, Watching Stupid YouTube Videos- 5:00-5:20, English- 5:20-6:20.” Although this is a rather simple method, actually setting aside and assigning time for myself makes me sit and do my work without being distracted.
    1. SUPER COOL SUB-TIP: If the schedule doesn’t work all of the way and the brightness of a laptop or phone has you flocking towards it like a moth, get apps that force focus. “Blacklist” can block certain websites on a computer and “Forest” features a phone growing a cute, tiny tree when it goes to no other apps. These make me zone in on my work.

Although I may never be an expert on the topic of studying, I tend to get very good results when I implement some guidelines for myself, and put myself into check. Breaks are good, but sitting on the computer and watching every Rachel and Ross moment in Friends for three hours is not good. Tips like this really help me, because I guess I have no common sense. If you have no sense and have a PhD in procrastination (they still haven’t mailed me the certificate… Joke!), I hope that these tips were a help to you as well.