How to survive midterms as a freshman

Sometimes it takes more than copious amounts of coffee

Midterms are extremely difficult and stressful no matter what classes you have.  It’s a time filled with a lot of life questioning and late night studying. It’s days spent where all you’ve had to drink is water and you can’t remember the last time you showered. But before you rip your hair out, throw your laptop out the window and start researching the annual income of strippers, these tips will save you from at least one of those.

Check the Syllabus

This is the most important thing. College professors don’t hold your hand like the teachers you had in high school.  Many professors will only tell you the day, or days, of your exam and nothing more. The syllabus will most likely tell you where the exam will be, what time it will be at, and what the exam will cover, so check it often. Oh, and when you do find out — put it on a sticky note so you don’t forget!

Study as Soon as the Exam is Announced

If you’re taking a class like anatomy where it’s all memorization, make flashcards. You’ll learn the material through physically creating the flashcards and by constantly reviewing and quizzing yourself. Another study tip is to actually attend lectures. I know some professors have their lectures online, but going to class allows you to ask questions. Pay attention to when your professor says that something will be on the exam.

Use a little ring to organize your flashcards too.

Take Breaks

Forcing yourself to study for hours and hours only causes you to stress more and learn less.  So, go for a walk, get some food, go to the gym, or even take a nap. Studies have shown that studying for more than 45 minutes without a break actually lowers your test scores. Your mind and grades will be a lot better off.

Call Someone You Love and Trust

Calling them will not only make them feel better, but hearing the voice of someone you miss will also calm your nerves. Don’t even talk about the exam. Talking about something completely non-related to your exam and distracting yourself for a bit will help more than you think.  You’ll forget about your exam for a while and actually calm down and maybe remind you of why you went to college in the first place.

Remember It’s Just a Test

That’s literally all it is.  Professors aren’t here to trick you and say 2+2=4 and then ask you to calculate the mass of Jim Harbaugh’s ego after an Ohio State game.  What they say is what’s on the exam, and being calm but a little nervous is perfectly normal. Don’t get yourself worked up and think that your life is going to be over because it’s not.  One bad test won’t ruin anything, if anything it’ll be something you can learn from for the next exam.

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The Stress of Waiting for Results

Now this can be arguably be the most stressful time of midterms.  The constant checking of Carmen to see discover your fate or the fear what you’ll see once the page loads.  The best thing to do here is to just distract yourself.  The exam already consumed your life by making you study, so don’t let it consume you any longer.  Go out, have fun with your friends, or catch up on Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix because you missed so much while studying.  Take a deep breath and then check your grade before you go to bed.

So, if you’re still in the middle of taking midterms or haven’t even started studying for one, just remember that everything will be alright. The great Bob Marley said so, so it has to be true.

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