study tips

How To Survive A University Course-Midterms and Finals

This post is part of a series on how to survive a university course. You can read the other posts here.


When it comes to midterms and finals, studying for them can be quite stressful. Since it is that time of year when exams are creeping up, I figured I would share some of my tips.

So, without further ado, here are my tips for studying for exams and midterms:

  1. Study!!! Don’t go completely blind into exam or midterm, at the very least look over your notes a few times.
  2. If you get any topics for essays or exams beforehand, prepare them well. It’ll give you more time to focus on writing instead of content, and might give you more time to go over the exam at the end to catch any mistakes.
  3. Know when and where your exams are since they might be in different places or times than the class is. As well, most universities release exam schedules pretty early, so keep out an eye for any changes too.
  4. Know what you can and can’t bring to exams. Your prof will tell you in class usually what they will allow you to bring into the exam, including cheat sheets or books. Most universities should also post what you’re allowed in exams on campus or online.
  5. Make sure you get some sleep, are eating well, are exercising, and stay healthy during midterms and finals. Neglecting any of these things can drastically affect how well you perform on your exams.
  6. Go to the exam review or midterm review for your classes. You can ask any questions about content you have, and profs sometimes give hints about things that will appear on exams. If you can’t make the review, ask friends in class for information or go to the prof’s office hours.
  7. Find a friend to study with! Sometimes it’s better to study with another person so they can catch what you’re missing in the content or so you can brainstorm ideas.
  8. Remember to take breaks. Studying for hours on end is not productive, so take a little walk or watch an episode of your favorite show every now and then.
  9. Have some confidence in yourself. Remember to take a deep breath, tell yourself you’ve studied and worked hard, and that you’re going to kick this exam’s butt.
  10. Look at your marks if you can before going into the exam. Knowing how you’re doing so far in the course and the weight of your exams or midterms is always a good thing and can give you some peace of mind.
  11. If you’re really worried about exams, there may be some tutors or free courses on campus that can help you out. Don’t be afraid to ask upper year students or profs what resources they recommend as well!

What are some of your study tips for midterms and exams? Leave them in the comments below!

-Mel.

Surviving a University Course-Study Tips

This post is part of a series about surviving a university course. You can find the rest of the posts here.


Since the busy crunch time is coming up for most university students, I figured I’d share a few of my study tips to help make it more manageable.

So, without further ado, here they are!

  • Make your notes work for your learning style. Rewrite them, highlight them, draw giant information webs, whatever works best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods!
  • Don’t over study, since it can be just as bad as understudying. This is when it’s crucial to know if your professor only needs you to know certain course material, or if you’re expected to know everything from the course and more.
  • Have a good study space or workspace. Either off or on campus, find a quiet space that lets you get your work done with the least distractions.
  • Take breaks and reward yourself during long study sessions. No matter if it’s a walk, stretching, a food or coffee break, it’ll help you retain facts in the long run.
  • Eat and drink things to keep you going during study time. Hopefully, you choose healthy food, but sometimes you need some chocolate or comfort food.
  • Keep your things organized to make studying easier and avoid losing important papers. If you take a few minutes every day to put papers from class where they belong, you’ll be so much better off for the stressful times of the semester.
  • Find an interactive way to study. Flash cards, fill-in-the-blanks, or practice tests are very useful. Remember, studying with friends might be interactive if you’re quizzing each other, but it can be distracting as well.
  • Try to limit distractions like texting, social media, and Netflix. Study times should be only study time. I also recommend listening to instrumental music so you’re not distracted by lyrics in songs.
  • Take a night off every once and a while to charge your batteries. You’ll need it later during the semester, and going out or some Netflix is good for you.

What are your best study tips to succeed in university? Leave them down below!

-Mel.

Surviving a University Course-During the Semester

This is part of a series of posts about surviving a university course. You can find the first two posts here.


As the semester progresses, it can sometimes be a bit of juggling act to get everything done, and done well. Not to mention, early classes start to feel even earlier as the semester progresses…

Here are some of my tips for things you should try and do during the semester so that things go as smoothly as possible!

  1. Try to be on time and with all your materials. Don’t be that annoying constantly late person or pen borrower.
  2. Come to class with a mindset to work. Even if you don’t really like the course, you’ll get more out of it if you put in an effort.
  3. Take notes! Even if they’re messy, they might contain an important test answer later on.
  4. Do your assignments, on time preferably. That way you’ll know the material better and you won’t lose marks for handing things in late. If you do need an extension for any reason, try to ask for one sooner rather than later from your prof.
  5. If you miss a class, try to get notes from friends to catch up. Only ask your prof for notes if you missed a lot of classes or have tried friends and online notes first.
  6. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. Your prof is there to help you with questions or to help you out with assignments. Plus if they know you, it’ll be easier to ask for references or extensions later on.
  7. Try to keep up with course material. You’ll probably fall a bit behind at some point, but try your best to keep up or set aside time to catch up if you’re really behind.
  8. Keep an eye on your grades so you know how you’re doing. This will help you going into midterms or finals and with deciding if you might want to drop a course.
  9. If your course load is too heavy or you’re doing really badly in a course, don’t be afraid to drop classes. However, it’s better to decide that before course drop deadlines.
  10. Take a break. Sometimes, the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed by work is to take a hour or two for yourself. An episode of your favourite series or a nap might be the special ingredient to boost your productivity sky high.

What do you guys do during the semester to keep your grades up? Leave a comment down below!

-Mel.

Top 3 Tips For School

Here are my top three tips for post-secondary or university!

  1. Talk to your profs: As scary as going to your prof’s office hours *alone* may seem, it’ll be totally worth it. Getting to know them is really useful for references later, and getting help on content first hand is incredibly helpful. Since I’m at a small university, this is a lot easier since my profs remember me anyways, but I still have to put in the effort to talk to them.
  2. Learn how to study and write: University is a lot harder if you don’t know what types of study methods work for you. Writing is incredibly important for academic writing, so you’ll need to pick up that skill fast. Check out your campus for resources that can help you, for example, my university has a writing center to help students.
  3. Get involved: You’ll probably hear this so many times it hurts, but join a few clubs and societies. You don’t have to go to every meeting, but even being informed by being on an email list doesn’t hurt. I personally have joined a few societies, and the extra lectures and events they facilitate have been pretty cool and enlightening!

Anyone else have a tip for those in university? Leave them down below!

-Mel.

Favourite Way to Take a Study Break

Well, I’m going to draw the line between distraction and an actual study break on this post.

I tend to get distracted by Facebook, Instagram, etc and take mini breaks in the middle of studying. Please don’t do that, it interrupts your flow and some meme your friend tagged you in can definitely wait.

A better way that I take study breaks is by taking walks. Whether it’s just to grab coffee off campus or to admire nature, stretching your legs and fresh air helps so much with clearing out the cobwebs. Plus, if you drag your friends along, you can chat about things like campus crushes and such.

I tend to study in blocks of maximum three hours, and after those blocks, I usually take about an hour break before doing any work. That way you can get food, and watch an episode of your favourite show to destress a bit.

How do you guys take study breaks? Leave your suggestions down below!

-Mel.

Your Study Style

I already went in more in detail about my study methods earlier this month, which you can find here.

My study style definitely relies more on visual memory and writing things down.

When I study, I assign different colours to different categories of important things. For example, blue would mean dates, pink for important people and places, and green for important terms. Having the colours in my notes reminds me that those things are important, and in exams having those visual cues makes things easier. Plus it really helps organize notes and engage you in what you’re trying to remember.

I also need to write a lot to study well, which is why I rewrite my notes at least once for each class, mostly lecture notes. Something about physically writing down information (with the colours!) is incredibly useful for me. I’ve also found making myself practice quizzes or finding review questions really help because it’s another way to write and remember content. I actually have a lot of problems with studying off my laptop because the physical aspect isn’t there as much.

I do also study with friends sometimes, but it isn’t really my study style and distracts me a lot. I do listen to music while I study, but I don’t use it to remember so much as to have a background noise to help me concentrate.

What are your study styles? Let me know down below!

-Mel.

Before/After

I actually couldn’t think of anything I could before and after…and then I remembered it was midterm season! So, below are the before and after of my history notes.

Usually, I try to rewrite all my lecture notes neatly on the weekend, so I review what I learned that week, plus then it’s easier to grab to study later. I also usually have separate reading notes that I’ll use for studying, but I find rewriting my notes at least once before exams helps me remember so much more. Just a useful study tip for you guys!

What are one of your study tips or before and afters? Leave it down below!

-Mel.