How to survive midterms
March 7, 2014
It’s midterm season — Bobst is crowded 24 hours a day and students carry books as heavy as their eyelids, constantly searching for more caffeine. Assignments and tests are stressful enough, but having 40 percent of the class grade for four classes, all due within the same 48 hours, sounds impossible. Yet somehow, we manage it every semester. Here are a few tips on how to make this midterm week more efficient, or at least less exasperating.
1. Eat protein and avoid junk food. College students worship 99 cent pizza and Arizona Iced tea, but this week should be your taste bud Lent. Stuffing your body with oil and sugar will cause you to feel bloated and lazy. Exchange the junk food for protein and vitamins to fuel your overworked body. Drink lots of water — not sugary sodas or juices. Dehydration will cause you to feel fatigued and unable to focus. In addition to hydrating, listen to your body when it is hungry. Hunger and lack of energy will reduce your productivity. Stick with high protein food such as turkey sandwiches or tuna salad, and pack yourself snacks such as almonds, carrots, yogurt and fruit for study breaks. Make sure to squeeze in breakfast before your classes and exams.
2. Do not underestimate the power of sleep — your mind becomes unproductive when you are sleep deprived. All-nighters are rarely worth it, as it becomes harder to memorize material under extreme fatigue, and midterms can be impossible when your eyes are half-open the next day. If you must sacrifice sleep, try sleeping in the evening and waking up early to study. Plus, chances are if you study the morning of the test after getting some rest, you will retain more of your exam material than if you study the night before when your eyes and brain are strained.
3. It is okay to take breaks. Our attention spans are limited. Motivate yourself to study by giving yourself a small personal reward, like a quick cup of coffee, snack or a walk in the park to stretch out. The key is balance. You probably should not watch the entire first season of “House Of Cards” after opening that empty word document, but acknowledging how much you have accomplished with a small break helps you unwind and keeps you productive in the long run.
4. Stay calm and realize that you know more than you think you do. If you become anxious and doubt yourself, you become less productive and more stressed. Confidence is essential for test taking. If you feel like you know enough information for the midterm, put down the study notes and breathe. Midterms are important, but your sanity and physical health take priority. Listen to your body. If your vision is getting blurry, take a break and get some rest; if your stomach is growling, avoid eating that third bag of Doritos from the nearest vending machine and order something filling and nutritious with a friend. Have a conversation about something other than school. Don’t let midterms make you forget what is most important to you. Spring break is just around the corner, and your hard work will pay off.
Sue Liang is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.