The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s that dreaded time of the year: the initial excitement from the start of the semester has declined rapidly, everyone is coming down with the cold and students are stressed with their upcoming midterms and assignments due all in the same week. As someone who has gone through four midterm seasons, written dozens of midterms and even written three midterms within 24 hours, I have compiled a list of tips on how to survive your upcoming midterm season!
- Stay Organized
As tempting as it is to start skipping lectures because you’re overwhelmed or start telling yourself you don’t need to make a study plan, these actions will only harm you in the long run. Midterm season is usually extremely busy, but staying organized with calendars, reminders and to-do lists will help you get your work done. Some tips to stay organized include investing in a good planner, preparing a list of what you need to get done the night before and colour coding your notes by subject.
- Start small
Often the biggest hurdle when it comes to starting your work is getting overwhelmed by all of the things you have to do, causing you to not know where to start. This can be counteracted by starting with small things to knock off your to-do list such as discussion posts, homework questions, short readings or even a simple chore like making your bed or cleaning your washroom. Once you gain momentum by knocking a few quick and easy things off your list, you‘ll likely feel more motivated to get started on the bigger, more daunting tasks.
- Study Well in advanced
Unfortunately, as many students realize throughout their undergraduate career, studying the day before will not cut it in university-level courses. As a general rule, studying at least a week in advance and creating a study plan of what you will cover every day is much better than cramming all the information in the night before. Everybody will find that different things work best for them, so try many methods and see what works for you. Having an Excel sheet and calendar of things you will cover and crossing them off as you go is also very rewarding.
- avoid Procrastination
Procrastination feels nice in the moment but only adds to the stress of midterm season by letting things pile up. If you are somebody who procrastinates, try the Pomodoro study technique, in which you study in chunks and take breaks. There are many websites and apps with timers you can use to keep yourself productive. Try turning your phone off and putting it in a different room for a couple of hours if you need to get something done urgently. You can even have an accountability system in which you and your roommate or friend take each other’s phones for a bit in order to prevent distraction. Moreover, if you find yourself wanting to lay on your bed every time you study in your room, try going to the library or another building or room in which you will have fewer distractions.
- Keep Your Immune System Strong
Ensuring you are staying hydrated, exercising, eating healthy and are getting in lots of vitamins is crucial to fighting the cold and flu that usually come along during the midterm season. Due to stress, a lot of students’ immune systems are already down, and if you neglect your physical health it will be very hard to study, stay awake and stay concentrated. Make sure you take extra caution around these times to avoid sickness such as eating a lot of fruits with vitamin C. Additionally, maintain a regular sleep schedule. If you regularly go to bed at midnight and wake up around 9, don’t try to rapidly change your sleep schedule by staying up until 3 am all of a sudden. It’s extremely crucial you don’t neglect your physical health during these times.
- Learn to Manage Stress
Stress is a very common reaction to having a lot of work to do in a minimal amount of time, and sometimes a little bit of stress can even be good and motivate you to get your work done. However, it’s important you don’t let it get in the way of your studies. Try meditation, going for daily walks, working out, cooking, watching an episode of your comfort show or FaceTiming a trusted friend if you are feeling overwhelmed. Remember to take breaks and prioritize your mental health.
Overall, midterm season is something that all students have to go through each semester, and it can be very daunting and stressful. However, by staying organized, starting small, studying well in advance, avoiding procrastination, keeping your immune system strong and learning how to manage stress, you can prevent some of the chaos that comes with midterms.