Tips to Get You Through Midterms and Finals


Studies show that taking breaks while studying will help improve your attention, as long as your break is smart. (Will Jones)

By Mia Tommins

Time flies when you are having fun, right? Midterms season really came out of left field this year. Instead of feeling anger and denial, here are some tips to keep cool while acing your exams.

1. Start with something fun.

Not everything about studying has to be horrible. Why not start with doing something enjoyable, like making a playlist? Get together some of your favorite songs to remind yourself that it was not all so bad at some point in time.

Listening to your favorite tunes on your way to the library or back to your dorm before bed will definitely put you in a better spot and get you ready to study or calm down.

Keep studying exciting by making a new playlist. Music can be such an effective way to handle stress, and it will definitely boost your mood after a few hours of cabin fever in Walsh Library.

2. Do not go through it alone.

Tasks always seem more overwhelming when you are trying to tackle them alone. Do not be afraid to reach out to someone in your class to set up a study session. Studying with others is not only helpful but it is effective because someone may catch something you did not. It is a great way to meet people as well. Even if you do not know anyone in your class, do not be afraid to reach out and ask someone if they want to study before the exam.

Chances are that that person will be more than thankful that you asked. Going over the material with someone is always more helpful when it comes to memorizing the information, too. Remember, you are never alone.

3. Find a new study spot.

Why not switch it up a little? Exams offer an opportunity to explore campus and find a new study spot you did not know existed. Instead of heading right to Walsh Library, maybe explore some other buildings on and off campus.
Perhaps grab a coffee and sit in Starbucks, or head right next door to Duane.

Grab a friend or classmate and talk school over a great lunch at Tino’s Delicatessen, or eat a scrumptious dessert at Prince Coffee House. It is midterms after all, you deserve to treat yourself.

4. Plan it out.

Making a to-do list and a calendar for midterms and finals really helps out. Knowing what you have to do on what date, and what you need to do every day to prepare for it, is a great way to keep yourself on track. Plus, checking stuff off the to-do list every day feels incredibly rewarding!

5. Do not leave it all for the night before.

One of the worst things you could do during exams is leave everything to study at once. Midterms and finals are meant to be big exams, so it is too overwhelming to study six chapters in one night. Planning things out beforehand and tackling a chapter every day might seem tedious.

However, when the night before the exam comes and all you need to do is review what you already studied, it feels good. It may take a little extra kick of motivation, but putting in an hour every day beats trying to study everything in one night.

6. Put your phone away.

Phones are probably the most distracting thing when it comes to studying. If you turn your phone off and put it in your desk for an hour or so, you can get so much more work done than if it were right next to you.

Your focus will improve, and you will not be tempted to think about whom that last snapchat was from. Your phone will be there when you are done, and the world will have not gone crazy in the meantime.

7. Move your body.

Working out during midterms season or just taking a 15 to 30 minute walk will help you perform better. Exercise reduces stress. Improving blood flow and giving your mind a rest will not only help you perform better on exams, but it will be so refreshing. It may not be your best workout week ever, but finding the time to give your mind a break and fit in those workouts will be worth it.

8. Take breaks.

Taking breaks while studying is one of the best tips out there. Studies show that taking breaks while studying will help improve your attention. Listen to your inner self and take the break. However, what you do during that break is as important as the break itself. It is important to choose the right study break so that you can return to your books feeling refreshed and focused and not worse than you did before you took the break.

Some positive study break activities include walking, stretching, showering, tidying up, cooking a healthy meal, talking on the phone with a friend or family member and meditating. Be smart with your break.

9. Get sleep.

This should be number one for studying tips. A study from the University of Georgia has found that “sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue by strengthening our immune system, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day … it is an active and dynamic process vital for normal motor and cognitive function.” College students should get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, which most do not.

10. Practice self-love.

Nobody is perfect. An exam does not define you. If you can say you did your best, there is nothing more to it. Be kind to yourself during midterms and finals season. It is a very stressful time, and a lot of people forget that in the grand scheme of things, this one exam does not define your path in life.

Be sure to check in with yourself and make sure you are not beating yourself up, but rather giving yourself credit for all the hard work you are putting in.