Midterm Madness

It’s that time again.

The part of the semester that falls between the beginning and the end. Yeah, you know what it is. Some of you dread it. Some of you avoid it but it’s midterm time.

Whether you have five back-to-back midterms in the same week or a more staggered schedule or the lucky few who have take-home midterms, chances are that, one way or another, you will experience some form of midterm related stress. Even so, the stress is easily managed, with the right mindset.

One of the first steps is to accept that midterms are here, and that some will be stressful. So it is imperative that you plan accordingly. While this might sound easy, it is actually pretty difficult to start planning.
The biggest problem is that it is easy to look a week ahead and think that you have plenty of time, so much time that you can goof off and procrastinate. You have all done it. The thought of that chapter in your biology book you just have to read and said  you’ll do it tomorrow. For some of us, this is a mistake we constantly repeat.

But regardless of whether you’re  a big procrastinator, the stress that comes with studying for midterms is an entirely different matter.

Stress and midterms on their own are not even the real problem. Things get significantly problematic when you are worrying because you are so stressed out about your midterms.
Once that starts to happen, things just tend to mount and it gets more difficult to succeed at trying to succeed.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for midterms.

1.    Eat healthy and sleep well. Sleep and nutrition are important factors in keeping your mind and body alert.  Avoid the burgers and the pizza at the food court and eat a salad or a sandwich instead.

2.    Just breathe. Learn a few breathing and meditation exercises  leading up to your exams. These are great for relieving stress.

3.    Exercise your hand. This sounds crazy but if your hand cramps up during a lengthy essay one of your professors tells you to write you could have problems writing another.

4. Bring a snack with you for between test secessions. It’s never good to take a test on an empty stomach.

5.    Pack all the tools you’ll need the night before, including extra pencils and pens.

6.    Make sure you study days in advance for your exams.

7. Study in groups. Never underestimate the power of your peers, especially when working through a difficult problem set or reading assignment. Dividing and conquering is an effective way to reduce your workload and to make sure you understand the material.

8.    Take simple and clear notes and always ask for help if you don’t understand something.
These next two weeks are going to be bad. For you freshmen out there, try NOT to procrastinate. Time management is the most difficult thing you do in college. Going from the high school environment into a college setting is very difficult. Mom and Dad aren’t here to pressure you and your professors will only remind you to study once for your midterm.
Midterms are stressful. They are supposed to be. Yes, you will be worried about them, and yes, it will be difficult but you can help yourself.
Don’t stress out too much. Just relax. Keep your goals in mind and don’t forget to study.

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