Once again, it’s nearly time for midterm examinations. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking “How is it already halfway through the semester?” closely followed by “Midterms? Seriously?!” Fret not, however! Use these tips to effectively tackle midterms (and then enjoy your subsequent spring break).
1. Start early. As unpleasant as it may sound, beginning to study early and go over your exam materials a couple weeks before your midterms will really pay off in the long run. While it certainly won’t be the most fun thing you’ll do all semester, you’ll be happy when it comes down to crunch time and you have 6 exams in one week but you don’t have to feverishly cram as much as possible and miss out on sleep. Plus, starting early gives you more time to really absorb all the information so that you’ll do better on your exams as a whole.
2. Stay positive. It’s easy to get dragged down thinking about all the work that is ahead of you and staring you in the face. You can get burnt out and frazzled around midterms week (let’s face it, we’re all more than ready for spring break at this point), and have a hard time looking at the bright side. When you start feeling that way, just stop for a moment and remind yourself of all the good things that are happening in your life. Think about goals that will and have been accomplished and just try to keep a positive outlook on things.
3. Pace yourself. This goes along with the first one in that you simply can’t neglect your studies the entire semester then expect to become an expert in your subject the night before your exam. If life were fair, maybe that would be the case, but we live in the real world, and the only thing you’re going to accomplish with that approach is strained eyesight and sleep deprivation (which will in all likelihood negatively affect your performance on the exam).
4. Take a deep breath. This may sound like a huge cliche, but it really does work! When you’re feeling stressed out and overworked, stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Chances are, you’ll feel much calmer, and it will help to clear your mind. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth has an especially calming effect and will help you find your center and focus more on the task at hand.
5. Take breaks. If you’re going to have massive study marathon, you’re going to need to take breaks for your own health and mental wellbeing. Blast some upbeat music and have a dance-off. Do twenty jumping jacks. Watch funny cat videos on the internet for ten minutes. Call up your mom or best friend just to vent (or to catch up). Paint your fingernails, doodle a sketch, empty out your email inbox. Do some small, mindless task that will reset your brain and allow you to relax for a few minutes before getting back to the grind (just be careful not to let your small breaks turn into three-hour television and junk food binges).