It’s that dreaded time of year: mid-term season. Parents and students alike dread mid-term exams, but with a few tips, there is no reason to be afraid. The key— as in all things — is to be prepared.

The first step is to be organized. Don’t study in a slapdash manner. Instead plan out ahead of time how you want to tackle your studies. You should try to determine which topics are going to be most important on the exam. Often a teacher will give students some idea of what areas to focus on. Then, when setting aside time to study, give focus to those areas that will be most relevant on the exam. Additionally, if there are areas where you have more trouble than others set aside extra time for those. If you plan ahead and know just how much time and attention you want to give to each subject, your studies will be less stressful and more manageable.

It’s important in preparing for exams to take a look at old tests and study guides. Old tests can give you some idea of what types of subjects will be most relevant, and additionally, they will show you what types of answers may be expected of you. Parents, point out to children how to examine past tests to determine which topics are most important. You can do this by indicating which topics get more questions, and thus, higher priority on a test. Help your children examine the mistakes they made on their past tests and help them develop strategies to avoid making them again. Also, you can compare the study guides to old tests and see what kind of questions actually made it onto the test from the guide. A lot is revealed in writing, and by seeing how teachers constructed previous tests, you can get a good idea of what to expect from mid-terms.

Find the best way to organize information. Develop graphic organizers or flow charts to make information manageable. And of course, the tried and true method of putting information on index cards for rapid review is always a good move.

For those of you who learn better from pictures, it will be helpful to draw pictures of material to help better memorize what you’re studying. Also, parents, while encouraging this, you should also be going through your children’s books with them. Help them understand how to use their textbooks. For example, point out the importance of bolded words and graphics. Also, chapter reviews and tests at the end of the chapters can be good study tools. Finally, when a student has gone over a chapter, have that student summarize it in his or her own words. Other helpful tactics are to give your children mini quizzes or give them work with mistakes on it for them to correct.

Parents should also help students understand how to think about tests. Guide them through the proper ways to approach a question. Try to explain to them what the thought process is when determining the answer to a question. Also, help your children understand what information is most important in texts and how they should pinpoint that information by use of highlighters. Teach them that highlighting is for keywords, pertinent information and for weeding out the less important information in the text.

No matter how you decide to study for mid-term exams, remember to take study breaks, eat well, and get lots of sleep.  Lastly, plan something fun to do after exams are over.  After all, you deserve it for a job well done.