Balancing stress during midterms

By: Emily Green, Columnist

Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter the night before a big test? Or woken up in stress overload the morning of your exam? If so, welcome to the club. It is that time of the year where college students start suffering from the upcoming pressures of midterms. 

Now realistically, most of us will procrastinate studying for that one exam and try to avoid the stress, but there are some ways you can manage that stress and have a higher chance of getting a good grade on that upcoming exam.

  1. Establish positive affirmations

When preparing for exams it is common to speak negatively about yourself and how you’re going to perform. The comments like “I’m going to fail” or “I did so bad” run through everyone’s mind. Having this type of habit negatively affects your mindset, so instead of doubting yourself, begin positive self-talk such as “I can do this” or “I’ll do my best.” After telling yourself this you will begin to have a more positive perspective on your upcoming exam.

  1. Make a study schedule

Midterm season can make you feel like you’re studying 24/7 with no breaks. If you lay out a studying schedule for yourself, you’ll find that you are more available to find time to relax. When you know what’s going to be on your exam, begin to lay out certain topics and questions and when you’re going to study them. Then, pick a time and place to study, keeping in mind what classes you are going to be studying for. Having a set schedule will keep you organized and more prepared for your exam.

  1. Create a study group

Studying alone is a good habit to a certain extent but sometimes having a study group would be beneficial for your exam performance. Having a study group allows you access to other perspectives and notes from the lessons in class. When you combine your notes with some of your classmates’ notes and use them while practicing productive study habits, not only you, but your entire study group has better chances of performing well on your midterm. So start talking to classmates and plan a time and place when you can help each other study for upcoming exams.

  1. Switch up your study habits

Practicing different methods of studying for different subjects is very important, because for certain students studying the same way for each class may not help you remember the content you need to. You might think flashcards help you memorize the material for English, but not so much for your math class. Trying different methods of studying and experimenting with what works best for you will benefit how you perform on your midterm.

  1. Take a study break

In order to stay focused on the material you’re learning, breaks between studying are essential for you. Make sure to remind yourself to go get a snack or have a coffee break, just to give your brain some time to retain the information you just spent time studying. The scenery is also important to change as well. Staying cooped up in your room at your desk can only do so much. Try moving to the public library or a quiet area to focus on your studies. Having a different environment can open up your mind to understanding the material from class easier. 

  1. Prioritize your sleep

One thing that is neglected very often during midterms and finals is sleep. It has become a habit to start pulling all-nighters to cram in hours and hours of studying. This is actually  affecting your performance negatively when taking exams. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule before and during exams will help better your ability to perform well on exams. Slacking on sleep will do nothing but make you tired on the day of the exam and possibly lower your grade as well. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Raising your hand during class and asking questions is one of the most productive ways of getting clarification on the content you’re learning. When you are in class preparing for exams, make sure you ask your professor any questions you may have in relation to the material you’re learning. No questions are stupid questions, if you need help with certain information don’t be afraid to ask. In the end, the answers you get from your questions will help better prepare you for the upcoming exam.

Everyone has different methods of trying to prepare for their exams but some of these tips are just some common ways to help you be successful and less stressed during the preparation process. Try a new method of getting ready for your exams and you will be more confident and well-prepared.

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