Midterm Survival Guide

The telltale sign that midterms are upon us: no open study rooms in sight.

While walking through campus these past couple of weeks, anyone can tell the atmosphere feels more tense than usual. Although not abnormal for midterm season, it’s important to mitigate one’s level of stress as they navigate this important exam period. Let’s talk about midterm dos and don’ts.

First and foremost, manage your time wisely! Try to make a daily schedule for yourself. This should go beyond your normal class schedule; so, get specific with what work you need to complete and during what set times. For example, space out your assignments so they are done well and turned in on time.

In addition to giving yourself time to do work, it’s just as crucial to take breaks. Relaxing is an ingredient for success, even if it’s as short as 15 minutes. You want to be proactive against burning out, and taking a step back here and there reduces the potential of running that risk.

Sarah Idelman, a sophomore communication student, said, “After sitting and doing work for a certain amount of time, it becomes extremely tedious…Stepping away from an assignment can refresh you, thus increasing your productivity.”

The next piece of advice is one I am sure we are all familiar with — ask questions! Take advantage of your class time and pick your professors’ brains. Further, asking questions will ensure you complete an assignment or paper according to your professor’s expectations. Plus, professors love when students ask questions since it shows they are engaged in class and want to do well.

If you are struggling with studying, here are two suggestions: make a creative study guide or try studying with a friend. Study guides take a lot of time and energy, making the process somewhat boring after a time. So, in an effort to liven up the content, consider creating your study guide using Canva over Word or Google Docs. In doing so, you not only retain the information, but you will have also produced a much more visually stimulating piece of study material.

Likewise, studying with a friend is a great technique. If you’re studying for a class based on ideas and personal analysis, like literature, studying with someone else can broaden your capacity for interpretation. Conversely, if you are studying for a subject that is inherently fact-based, such as chemistry, then you and your friends can take turns explaining the material.

Brooke Barbieri, a sophomore business student, said, “I feel like my friends teach me, and I teach them. They help by explaining a topic to me in a way that I can better understand.”

While having friends around can lighten the load of studying, it’s important to step away and pursue some solo studying if you become distractions for one another.

Finally, the last ‘do’ for midterm season is to get your rest. Sleep helps you remember information and refreshes the brain which improves your ability to focus on new material.

As for midterm don’ts— do not procrastinate your work. No matter what it takes, try your best not to sit on assignments until the last second. Instead, break down assignments into small parts. For example, if you have a five-page paper, write one page on Monday, two on Tuesday, and two on Wednesday.

Also, do not skip meals. Your brain and body need fuel to function; yes, you guessed it, food is that fuel. Eating three meals a day, especially breakfast, will help sustain your energy for all your test-taking.

Lastly, don’t stress! I know this one is the hardest, but seriously, just relax. Your midterm grade doesn’t define you as a person. Plus, there is still a whole other half of a semester to improve!