Spring break is right around the corner, which, for some college students, means motivation to study at an all-time low. Even though daydreaming about vacation can take over our minds, we must forget about our upcoming trips for a few days to buckle down and tackle our midterms. These big mid-semester exams are arguably the most stressful time in college. (Yes, even more so than finals). Why? Because on top of all the tests, papers, and presentations, there are still everyday assignments that have to be completed. So in preparation for this chaotic time, we’ve put together a midterms survival kit to help you survive the madness. Whether you’re spending the week drinking excessive amounts of coffee or planning to pull another all-nighter, remember these 13 tips while you’re studying for that next big test. You can thank us later.
- Make a schedule: “Creating a plan for your day will help keep your thoughts clear and organized so you’re only thinking about one thing at a time,” says Dani Thomas, a student at the University of Mississippi. Setting aside a specific slot in a day for each item you need to get done will help you stress less.
- Take advantage of your school’s academic resources: When it’s getting close to exam time, many professors will offer review sessions in place of regular class. Everett Phillips, a student at the University of Arkansas says, “I always go to review sessions when they’re offered. Some professors even read out questions that come directly from the test.”
- Color-code your notes: “Using markers and colored pens to rewrite your notes helps me retain information better,” says Lillian Benton, a student at the University of Mississippi. It can be difficult to remember what you’ve written when everything on the page you’re studying is gray, so try writing things that you want to stick out in your mind in different hues so it’s easier to recall come test time.
- Review past exams: Lauren Heres, a student at the University of Georgia says “Reviewing past exams is my go-to study tip; that way I can make sure I know the right answers to the questions I originally missed.” Sometimes professors will even reuse questions from past tests on midterms, so it’s always good to take another look.
- Make flashcards: These are great for quizzing yourself with. Put terms or notes on the flashcards and then rewrite it by hand. Doing this will help you better retain the information. Maddy Ward, a student at the University of Mississippi says, “If you make flashcards, you can review them every night leading up to the exam until the answers feel like second nature.” And if you find yourself short on notecards, there are websites like Quizlet that allow you to create digital cards online instead.
- Look into on-campus tutors: Sarah Ware, a University of Mississippi student says, “I was struggling in chemistry, and one of my friends told me about the tutor she used. He ended up being a lifesaver.” Whether it’s an official tutor from the library or someone in who has taken the class before, it’s likely that someone will be able to help you.
- Find a few good study spots: University of Mississippi student, Ingrid Valbuena says, “Know how to balance your time between the library and other fun study spots on campus. I like to switch it up between buildings on campus and different coffee shops in town.” Simply changing up your environment can help you better focus and retain more information.
- Review your notes with other people: Study groups are great for many reasons: you’re surrounded by your friends (or will make new friends), you can quiz each other, and if you don’t understand a topic, someone there probably does and can explain it to you. “The only way I passed anatomy was with the help of my study group. I would 100% recommend [joining one],” says Emily Ware, a University of Mississippi student.
- Bring earplugs: Some people prefer to drown out background noise with music, but if you like to study in peace, don’t forget to bring some earplugs or noise-canceling earphones to block out all the noise. “I have to study in complete silence—otherwise, I’ll get way too distracted,” says University of Mississippi student Madison Quickel.
- Remember to sleep: Tori Mulvey, a student at the University of Mississippi says, “Self-care is the best care, and getting plenty of sleep is a part of that, especially during midterms.” When you’re up late studying or finishing a project, sleep doesn’t seem like a priority. However, it’s important so that you don’t forget everything you were studying or hit the snooze button too many times on the morning of your exam.
- Maintain your health: “Working out helps me de-stress and keep my mind right during midterms season,” says Chandler Carpenter, a University of Mississippi student. Whether it’s meditating once a day, eating nutritious foods, or squeezing in a workout, take some time to take care of your body so that you’re able to fully focus with a clear mind when it’s time to studying.
- Take a break: Alli Elbert, a University of Mississippi student says, ”I have to take breaks when I study or else I can’t retain any information. I always study for 25 minutes and then take a 20-minute break to reset.” According to the Huffington Post, studies show that taking a break once an hour increases our work productivity, so give yourself a rest periodically to renew your energy and allow yourself to refocus.
- Reward yourself when you complete tasks: When you finish a paper, project, or exam, you deserve to relax a little bit before the next one. University of Mississippi student Lindsay Roberts says, “Treating yourself is necessary to stay sane when school gets overwhelming.” Go grab dinner with your friends, watch an episode of a show you’ve been dying to see, or even take a nap. You deserve it.
How do you survive midterms? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo by @sarahgargano29