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It’s that time of the year when all you want is a little break, but instead you’re stuck with two essays, three exams, and a presentation due at the end of the week. Midterms are hard, especially during a pandemic with remote classes (ugh). I don’t know about you, but personally, this semester feels much harder than last semester. Maybe it’s the workload or the 1.5-month winter break we had, but finding motivation has been a real challenge. While my midterms had its ups and downs, I think I’ve figured out some sort of routine to help me not lose my head.

In high school, I was very unorganized. I had an agenda but never used it; I just made a mental checklist of everything I needed to get done. Doing that during a remote semester (or two) would not have worked out. So, I bought a cute agenda that fits my organizational style and every day I write down all the things I need to complete. I like to make a little checkbox next to each assignment so that once I’ve finished it, I can check it off, which is so satisfying btw. :) Furthermore, I write any questions I have for teachers or extra notes in it so that it’s all there laid out in front of me. It helps me stay organized and I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

goals, coffee, notebook
Photo by Estée Janssens from Unsplash

Taking breaks is also very important and it’s helped me out a ton. I’ve heard a lot of people use the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break. I’m not good with strict schedules like that, but I tend to take a little break every time I finish an assignment or take longer breaks after I’ve completed multiple tasks. Usually, I check my phone, grab a snack, or do a little workout during these breaks. It feels like a mini reward and it helps me reset before I move onto the next thing. Taking longer breaks like a day or two to just relax has helped me recharge as well, but whatever you do, do it guilt-free. There are times when I think I could be spending that “break time” studying, but in the long run, I know I needed it to keep happy and sane. 

I move around a ton when I study. I start off in one room, and then when I get bored in that room or it becomes too messy (oops), I move to another room. Luckily, my house currently has two unoccupied bedrooms, so I can find a new spot easily and get a slight change of scenery. However, even just being stuck in the house can get tiresome at times. Cafes and libraries around me have shut down due to the pandemic, but if there is a spot that is safe and open, spending a little time there may be just the change you need. Also, when it gets warmer, studying outside is always really fun and nice. 

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a crammer. I basically wait till the last few days to really hit the books. While it does lead to some panicking and mental breakdowns, it honestly does help me feel kind of ready, since all the material is pretty fresh in my head. I don’t recommend you doing this, but find what works best for you. My favorite way to study is to make my own study guide. Especially if the test is open notes, having just a couple of sheets of paper with the most important notes makes it easy to find information and is a great way to prep for an exam. Using flashcards, redoing homework, quizzing yourself, etc. all help too. However, try to create a rough study schedule and space it all out a week or two before your exam, so that you aren’t doing everything at the last minute.

Midterms, or finals, or any other overwhelming period of school (there are a ton) are tough! But trying new things and finding what works best for you by establishing a routine may help make the whole process a little easier. Good luck with exams, you got this!

Photo of people at work putting their hands on top of each other
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Riti Jain

U Mass Amherst '24

Riti is a sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in Economics and Communication. She has a passion for the arts, media, culture, and politics. When she's not writing for Her Campus or studying for classes, you can find her dancing, taking photos, or reading the other amazing Her Campus articles.
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