Preparing for Exams: What Advice Should I Give My College Student?

Any exam can be stressful, but midterm exams can be especially difficult for first-time college students. When parents send their students off to college, they want them to be prepared, and they do everything they can to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed.

Even so, many incoming freshmen find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material covered in the average college course. It is only natural for parents to want to reach out and help during these stressful times. There are some things parents can do to make those first midterm exams a bit less stressful.

The exact approach parents should take to help their student prepare for exams will vary, and there is no one right answer for everyone.

Some students are better at self-study than others. Some students thrive in the hectic environment of a formal study group while others would do better cramming for exams with a few close friends. It is important for parents to talk openly and honestly about academic performance, as well as any specific anxieties regarding midterm exams.

Parents can use these tips to help their students be more prepared for the first midterm exams of their college careers.

1. Research any resources the college may have available. Most colleges have tutoring centers where students can get help with specific subjects and’or address concerns about the exam process. Tutors can also provide insight and depth to course information.

2. Ask your student if there are any existing study groups available on the campus. If not, suggest that your student get together with friends and form one. One of the most important skills college teaches is how to collaborate and work in a group. Those skills can be critical for successfully completing the midterm exams – and just as important for succeeding in the workplace.

3. Encourage your student to meet with their professors if they are feeling especially anxious or intimidated by those first midterm exams. A good college professor will understand the stress of being a new college student and may be able to provide some additional review time for your student.

4. Encourage your student to manage stress and maintain good health habits as the midterm exams approach. Those all-night study sessions can be helpful, but it is just as important to maintain proper sleep patterns. Avoiding stressful activities and learning some meditation and relaxation techniques can help a great deal.

5. Encourage your student to avoid distractions, both during the exam itself and in the weeks leading up to the test. Finding a quiet study space makes reviewing notes and practicing answers a lot easier.