How to Survive Midterms

There are two times in a semester that all students hate: finals and midterms. Let’s be honest. No matter what your major is, we all hate midterms. Why? Because it’s one of the busiest time of the semester.

The first few weeks of the semester, professors are taking it cool, not giving you too many tests or assignments. Weeks go by, and suddenly, you have 4 exams and 3 papers to hand in during the same week, and you’re asking yourself how you’re ever going to go through this.

Midterms are one of the most dreaded times for college students. Why? Because it's one of the busiest! Click through to find out how you can crush your midterms without losing your mind!

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed. So stop, take a deep breath and let’s go through this together. This is my guide for how to survive midterms.

Be prepared

One of the first things you want to do to ensure you crush those midterms is being prepared. Of course, you want to study hard and get great results. But before you even start studying, you want to know what kind of exam you need to study for. Will there be multiple choices questions? Long questions? Short discussion questions? You will want to study differently for an exam that has multiple choices questions than for one that requires long discussion answers. Sometimes your professor will want to make it difficult for you spice it up a little bit and mix everything together.

How do you find that kind of information, you ask? Look up your syllabus! There might be a lot of valuable information concerning your exam, such as the type of questions, the material that will be covered, whether it’s an open book exam or not, if the exam is done online or not, etc. If it’s unclear in the syllabus, ask your professor! They are normally glad to answer that kind of questions for you, as they want you to succeed.

Find what motivates you

One of my biggest struggles with midterms is staying motivated. By that point of the semester, I’m usually exhausted, barely hanging on. I’m craving fall break and that’s basically the only thing I can think about. The mid-semester slump is real, y’all. If you know that feeling, you need to find the necessary energy to go through your midterms and studying. Find what motivates you to get through. Whether it is the prospect of fall break, that dress you’ve been dying to buy, or that pumpkin spice latte you get after each of your exams to congratulate yourself, just find something that will make you want to go on and ace those midterms.

Create a study schedule

One of the most important parts of surviving midterm week is time management. Trust me when I say that knowing how to manage your time will be your life saver! You will thank me later.

If you want to be most effective in your studying, you need to create a study schedule. Why is that? Because there will be a lot of exams happening at once (unless, like me, you have an easy semester), and you want to make sure you’ve dedicated enough time to each of them.

Now, how do you do that? Start by dividing each of your exams into units. What are units? Well, in some classes, the units will divide themselves very easily. Maybe you have six chapters to study for that exams, or you have covered three topics in class. Sometimes, it’s not so clear. In that case, try to divide the material logically. I like to do it by class, but it could be by historical period if it’s relevant. This will make it easier for you to see how much you actually have to study for the exam. Depending on how much time you have left before the exam, write down what you need to schedule each day, and how much time you need to dedicate to it. You can either do it the old-fashioned way in your planner or calendar, or you can create a Google Calendar especially for that.

Make sure to include study breaks, workout time, and sleep! If you have any other extracurriculars or regular things on your agenda, make time for them too!

If you want more info on how to make a study schedule, Sara from Sara Laughed has written a great post about it!

Don’t procrastinate

In order to survive this hellish week, you need to be productive. That’s definitely something I struggle with, but not waiting until it was too late saved my life several times. I learned the hard way that the more you procrastinate, the worse you’ll feel. Not only will you feel guilty for not being prepared once the exam comes, but you probably won’t get the results you want by sitting on your ass and watching Netflix all night.

Remember that motivation we talked about earlier? That’s going to help you not procrastinate. Reminding yourself why you want to get through these exams will motivate you to be productive and get things done!

Create a study guide

The one thing I learned in college about studying is that study guides are the way to go. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have your professor prepare one for you, but that’s not always the case. I just love when my professors prepare a study guide that I just need to fill in, or  gives me some examples of questions to answer and that are going to help me study, but sadly, most don’t. So, I learned that a great way to study effectively and to review material was by creating my own study guide.

What is a study guide? It’s a summary of all the information you need to study for the exam. Don’t let that scare you! It might seem like a lot at first, but once you get started, you’ll realize that it’s actually not that much. You can totally do this!

Creating a study guide is my go-to technique when it comes to studying! It helps me review the material, summarize the information, and define the key points.

I wrote an entire post on how to create a study guide in college on The Happy Arkansan if you don’t know how to do it!

Get enough sleep

If you want to get through midterms, you have to get enough rest. You want to make sure you’ll feel ready both physically and mentally for your exams, and a big part of that goes with getting enough sleep! I know it’s tempting to stay up all night and study for the big test you have the next day, but trust me, it will do you no good. You need energy and your mind to be clear, and they only way to feel that way is to sleep. Make sure you get at least 7 hours every night!

Treat yo’self

This is probably my favorite part of midterms. After you’ve suffered through hell and back, make sure to treat yo’self! Go out with your friends for a celebratory meal, go on a shopping spree, or sleep the night away, I don’t care. Find something that makes you happy, and tell yourself that you deserve it! Because you do! You went through this and didn’t give up! It was you who worked hard, and now it’s time to reward yourself for all of those hours you spent the library studying. You did it!

Do you have any magical tip that helps you survive midterms?