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Before we even had a chance to adjust to the beautiful fall weather, midterm season has come upon us. With in-person classes back in full force, this can only mean one thing: a return to in-person test-taking after nearly two years. Hectic schedules, combined with extra hours of studying, review sessions, and discussion sections, make it feel impossible to survive this period of the semester. However, through experience, I’ve learned a few critical steps necessary to survive the seemingly endless string of exams, papers, and assignments. Here are a few tips that, together, will help you make it through midterms! 

  1. Make a schedule! Whenever I would get stressed in high school, my dad would always tell me, “Put out the fire that will burn you first.” Applying this wisdom, I always make a detailed and organized plan for my approach to exams and papers. Believe it or not, it is immensely helpful to see the due dates for all of your classes in front of you. From there, I estimate how much time and effort I need to dedicate to the various papers, quizzes, and projects and add those items to a to-do list. This way, I have a “plan of attack” for each day, making my work seem much less overwhelming.
  2. Have a good playlist. Studying without listening to anything may be the key to success for some people. Personally, however, I need something playing at all times. When I’m preparing for my economics exams, I like to play music at a low volume. I try to keep my playlist filled with slower, more relaxing music because EDM beats or rap only heighten my anxiety during problem-solving. During periods where I am writing an essay or doing my readings for a class, I get easily distracted by music since I’m tempted to listen to the words. Here, I opt for classical music or even quiet rain sounds (Spotify has a 10-hour recording of quiet rain that I LOVE). 
  3. Take time for self-care. It’s easy to completely abandon all forms of self-care during this stressful time. But, prioritizing yourself mentally and physically can reduce stress and will likely allow you to achieve better outcomes on your exams and papers. I always make time for a quick workout (even if it’s just a walk outside), a dinner with friends, or a facemask and under-eye patches in the evenings. This time allows my brain to relax and return rejuvenated.
  4. Caffeinate, Caffeinate, Caffeinate. While this may not be medically recommended, I have found that keeping a coffee close by at all times helps me stay energized and focused. Additionally, getting myself a Starbucks before I head into the SciLi for what seems like an eternity adds some positivity to my day. Running on less sleep than usual, this has been my saving grace. Try the iced shaken espresso; you won’t be disappointed. 

Above all, remember that in just a couple of weeks, all of these assessments will be behind us. Soon, campus will look like quintessential New England fall, and excitement for Thanksgiving break will be palpable in the air. Until then, good luck and happy studying!

Maddie is a junior at Brown from Connecticut. She is concentrating in Economics.
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