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Tips for Surviving Midterms Without Pulling Your Hair Out

Unfortunately, that dreaded time of year is creeping up on us: midterms. Unlike high school, where your teachers spaced out your tests to save you stress, college professors like to do just the opposite. For a week (or maybe even two) every class you’re in will probably have some sort of exam, paper, presentation, etc. But we’re here to help you get through these weeks without wanting to drop out of school!  


During midterms, it can be tempting to just say, “Screw it” and stay up literally all night to get things done. However, once you are getting five hours of sleep or less, it’s been proven you actually are decreasing your chances of doing well. Try to get a least five hours, even on your busiest nights. Your body will thank you.  


While I know I never have the urge to go for a run when I’m up to my ears in work to do, for many people it can be extremely beneficial. It can boost your mood and help decrease stress. It’s a great way to take a study break as well.  

Eating Healthy

As for your diet, nutrition is key. It’s easy to stop at Chipotle or Jimmy Johns in between study sessions, but try to hit the grocery store the week before and pick up some our favorite healthy foods. Grab some fruits and veggies that are quick and easy to eat on the go!  

Study the Syllabus

For most classes, the syllabus has a section explaining how the exam is set up, the format, how long it is, etc. If it doesn’t, ask your teacher! While they may say they can’t tell you, there’s no harm in asking. This can help you better prepare for what to study.  

Make a Study Schedule

The first step to studying for a large test is planning. Make a list of EVERYTHING you need to review: book chapters, class notes, lecture PowerPoints … everything. This most likely will be a LONG list, but that’s okay. After this, break down what you’ll study each day. Consider printing out a calendar for the week before and of your midterms and writing in what you need to study every day for each exam.  

Start Early

That leads me to my next point: start early. Making your study schedule two nights before your exam will just lead to extreme anxiety and stress. Make a plan, and start studying at least a week before your test, depending on what the test is like.  

Use Time Wisely

There really are only 24 hours in a day. Make them count. Use your time proportionally to how hard your classes are. Don’t study equally for your class you have an A+ in and your class that you are riding the struggle bus in.

Ask for Help

This is my final tip for a reason. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Ask friends, sorority sisters, TA’s or really anyone. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s okay to know yours. Go to office hours if you have questions about the material. Your professor or TA probably doesn’t have too many people come, and if they see you’re making an effort, they’ll remember.

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