Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 03:13 pm est

How to survive midterms

Posted on March 7, 2014 | by Sue Liang

via flickr

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


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.