How to Make it Through Midterms

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The middle of the semester can be a really stressful time. Work is piling up, end of the semester project deadlines are looming, you’ve got life stuff going on, and now you have to take a bunch of tests!

Take a deep breath. You can do this. Let’s break it down.

Make a plan

  • Make a to-do list. Write down everything you need to do (study for Chem test, write History paper, finish Psych presentation, grocery shop). Write down when everything is due. How to prioritize your list is up to you. Some possibilities:
    • Organize by due date. Look at your syllabi. What’s due first? Do that first. You’ll definitely want to do this if something is due immediately.
    • Organize by length of assignment. You might feel a sense of accomplishment if you can knock a bunch of little stuff out first. Then you can use that momentum to tackle the big stuff!
    • Do what you like best first. If English is your favorite class, do that first. Only do this, if you know you’ll do the other stuff later.
    • Save the best for last. Use your favorite class as a reward.
    • Do the hardest work first, while your brain is still fresh. Save easy work for when you’re feeling tired.
  • Break things up into small chunks. Make your workload feel manageable. Don’t plan to sit down and write a paper for seven hours. Schedule some breaks. Have a snack. Take a nap.
  • See if you can work less. Look at your budget. Can you afford to take a few days off or give away a couple of shifts?

The day before a big test:

  • Get some rest. Your brain needs time to process what you’re learning. Shoot for a cool eight hours of sleep if possible.
  • Pack your bag. The night before a big exam, make sure you have everything you need for the next day: pens, pencils, calculator, a snack, your textbooks, or whatever else you need to be successful.

The day of a big test

  • Eat breakfast. Don’t eat anything too heavy. Don’t load up on sugary cereals. Eat a balanced meal with protein and complex carbs, like eggs and oatmeal. Some people don’t like breakfast, but try to grab a banana or a granola bar on your way out the door.
  • Review a little, but don’t cram before the test.


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