Midterms. I remember taking my first midterm exam in sixth grade. It was for math, and because I was in the advanced class I had to take a midterm. It was the only class I had one for, and I wasn’t one to be afraid of exams, but when the teacher said that word, my classmates got panicked. The ones with older siblings had probably seen them turn into balls of stress at midterm time. The negative connotation of the word had already been cemented, and they were ready to spread the fear on to the rest of us.
At the ripe age of 11, I walked home and announced that I had a midterm for math, and I was terrified. My parents easily talked me down, most likely with reminders that I’m good at math and have no trouble with tests. This one would be no different. I don’t remember how I did, knowing middle school me I probably got an A and was fine. It wasn’t until high school that midterms started swaying grades, but even then it was just a quarter grade. Doing well the other quarters could balance a bad midterm.
But sitting here as a college students seven years after first hearing the term, midterms are different. They can be a substantial part of your grade. You may feel like your course just started last week, and how can you already be halfway through? You have normal homework and three papers and a group project and two exams. It’s all two or three weeks away, but that doesn’t help.
“How will I survive?!” Is all you can ask yourself.
Ready or not, they’re on their way. Don’t let this week (or weeks) wreak havoc on your physical and emotional health! Stay in control. How? I have five midterms tips just for you to help keep the your stress in check.
These 5 reminders won’t make your exams go away, but they will help you be ready to go on test day.
- You need to sleep. Your brain will not be in peak condition if you are not well rested. If you have a sleep schedule – stick to it. Staying up four hours later to study won’t seem like such a good idea in the morning.
- Don’t skip the gym. If you have an exercise routine, stick to it. Stick to it, because it’s what your body is used to. Switching things up when you’re already stressed and things are changing in your daily routine – not the best idea.
- Eat good food. Foods that boost brain power? Go for it. Maybe skip the pizza at the dining hall and go for proteins, fruits, nuts, and oily fish! Eat better, feel better, do better.
- Everyone is going to be in “crisis” of some sort when exams come around. If it’s not you, it’s your roommate, or the kid across the hall. Don’t get swept up in other people’s drama come exam time. It is not worth it. Especially when you should be spending that brain power on so many other things! Focus on you.
- Gather as much information on your exams as possible. This will help you to prepare in the best way possible! If you’re the kind of person who freaks out when they don’t know what to study, or tailors their studying to the format of the exam (which you should totally do if you don’t already), this is something you should really try to do. Whenever your professor volunteers information about the exam during class, write it down! If they offer study guides, use them! At the end of the day if they offer no guidance, you can always go to office hours. It’s what they’re for, and even if they won’t tell you much, it doesn’t hurt to ask what the format of the exam will be, or if there are certain topics you should focus on more than others. You may be surprised by what they’ll tell you!
That’s it! Sounds simple, right?
That’s because it is!
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Leading up to half term isn’t always the easiest, trust me, I know. But, hopefully these reminders will help make it less stressful, and keep you from running yourself ragged. If you have any midterms tips, add them in the comments below! We can always make a midterms tips part two.
Good luck! And remember, you can do this!