How to Survive Midterms

Here it is once again, Midterms. These dreaded exams that show the professor whether we have been paying attention in their three hour lectures and to show whether we have done the readings. Midterms…I hate them.

Since I prefer writing long-ass papers over midterms or any kind of exams. Here are some tips on how to survive exams.

1. Don’t be a late starter:

As a 4th year university student, this took me awhile to grasp. Don’t start studying a week before the exam. Study everyday since the class has started. Read, Attend lecture, re-read and ask questions. Don’t leave anything to last minute! Honestly, it is the best thing you can do.

2. Sleep:

If you’re like me, you stay up late reading or studying all the time. Don’t do that during midterms. It’s okay when you write papers but not when studying for exams. Your brain does need that extra rest. Also take breaks between studying, take a nap.

3. Eat Healthy/Be Healthy:

If you’re like me, sometimes I have time to make myself some food, while at other times I just grab some cookies. For me, since I don’t eat meat, I can avoid eating fast foods but sometimes you do want fries and donuts to go with that coffee. Give yourself five minutes and cut up some veggies and fruits, keep them in front of you while you study, this way you don’t go and buy candy. If you live alone this might be harder, but try and prepare for exams this way. Think of it as meal planning (for those who are gym-goers). I also go for walks when I feel a little overwhelmed, it also helps clear the mind before going back in. Have a little fun!

4. Study Group vs Studying Alone:

I usually study alone but when I don’t get a subject, I find studying with people who do is super helpful. Sometimes your classmates explain things in a way that your professor or teaching assistant can’t. Studying alone is also good because exams are not group efforts so getting used to that is also great. Find what works for you.

5. Help:

Don’t wait till the day of or a few hours before to email your prof or TA questions about the exam. Get help before hand, I usually like to meet up a few days before the exam to just make sure I didn’t miss anything.  Always ask questions!

6. Water:

Drink water. Sometimes we forget to even eat when studying but the body functions better with water.

7. Don’t stress out:

Okay, so I’m the queen of stressing out but in reality a little stress never hurt anyone. Just watch those stress levels because it can do quite some damage.

8. Take a break:

Whether it’s a full day, a few hours or even a couple of minutes, your body will thank you. So will your brain.

There are so many other tips I could provide and obviously I am not an expert. We all learn in our own way, we all cope in our own way. I just thought sharing some of my tips might be helpful. It’s okay to not know all the answers, it’s okay to fail, its okay. That is all I have to say. I’ve learned to fail exams (it’s happened before) but it means I ended up studying smarter and finding ways that work for me. For example, I prefer written exams over multiple choice. I find ways to make sure I study for them such as index cards, review questions at the back of textbooks and talking to classmates.


Good luck everyone!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s