How to Avoid a Midterm Crisis


Unfortunately for college students, the midpoint of the semester is coming up quickly. Way too quickly. Professors are piling on homework, papers, and projects at this point in the semester, yet students are expected to study continuously on top of this heavy workload. Early preparation is crucial for midterm exams, but how does one avoid burning out before then? Procrastination, binge drinking to cope with stress, cramming, supplementing all-night studies with energy drinks, and other common self-destructive practices will only worsen the problem. Luckily, there are many things that can be done to make large-scale testing less of a monster.

Improving time management skills can allow students to allot time for both studying and enjoyable activities. Setting some time aside everyday to destress will allow each study session to be more effective. Use a reward system that works, such as getting oneself dessert or having a spa night after a successful study session. Making flashcards or study guides and breaking up the material into small, manageable pieces daily can ensure that the information is retained. Upon discovering that some of that material is too difficult to manage on one’s own, visit the designated professor during his or her office hours to talk about options. There is still time to catch up. Tutors may also be available on campus, depending on the subject of interest.

Ask plenty of questions while there is time to learn before exams. If midterms manifest as essays or projects in one’s class, be sure to start a first draft as early as possible, as well. Making an outline or list of things to include may also help. Even just brainstorming ideas in a “stream of consciousness” manner beforehand is still better than staying up all night to start and finish a ten-page paper on an unprepared topic. Additionally, rough and final drafts can be broken up into increments to avoid an excessive workload.

Everyone has already heard this countless times before, but a healthy mind-body dynamic forms the foundation on which a healthy, confident student builds his or her progress. All three of these may not always be realistic with a busy schedule, but do not forget what should always come before school or extracurriculars: one’s health. In the words of Jim Carrey: “…if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, and surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.”

For more tips on preparing for midterms, visit www.