Manage Stress And Ace Midterms In Ten Steps
Midterms week is one of the most stressful weeks of the year. It can often leave students with crippling anxiety. There are a few ways to alleviate the stress, but these methods are often unknown or forgotten.
In the days leading up to midterms:
1. Make sure you know what to study.
Know the syllabus and read the study guide. If the professor does not give you a study guide, ask your professor, either after class or by email, exactly what he or she expects for this exam.
2. Arrange a study group.
Study groups are an excellent idea, but students typically forget about them while studying abroad. Try reaching out to fellow classmates to organize a time to discuss the midterm. Perhaps they know something you don’t. Plus, talking to peers about the exam can be a good way to alleviate test anxiety.
3. Get some exercise or fresh air.
For some people, the best way to manage stress is by exercising. Even if you aren’t the type to lift heavy weights at the gym, you can burn off your frustrations in other ways. Try going for a walk with a friend or taking a slow bike ride around the city.
4. Take frequent breaks from studying.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health conducted a study in 1979, and it is still true today! They were able to prove that taking a 15 minute study break every 45 minutes is the key to comprehending what we read. Essentially, the longer you try to focus, the less effective your brain becomes at retaining the information.
5. Make sleep your priority.
If you want to do well on midterms, it’s best to make sure you sleep around 8 hours per night. When we are busy, it is easy to forgo sleep, which only makes us more tired and thus more anxious. Try making sleep the top priority on your list of things to do.
The day of the midterm:
6. Eat breakfast.
In an article published by NPR, Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University claims that, without breakfast, our brain doesn’t function as well. While some people lose the ability to eat when nervous, it is important to remember that breakfast will help give you the fuel to remember the answers when it matters most.
7. Before the exam, do something that helps relieve your nerves.
This may include talking to friends or reviewing your notes, but it can be different for every person. Maybe you need to wear a certain oversized hoodie or write with a particular blue pen. Learn what works best for you.
8. Remember to breathe.
Sometimes students become so focused on writing an essay that they forget to breathe. Other times, students feel pressured to finish their exam in a certain amount of time, and underestimate the benefits of just stopping to breathe for five seconds. Deep breaths can improve brain function and give you the energy needed to finish the exam.
After the exam:
9. Don’t overthink it.
The past is in the past, and as much as we wish we could time travel, it is impossible to go back and change an answer. Even if the midterm goes badly, it is usually still possible to pass the class. Learn from your mistakes and try to do better on the final. It is useless to worry about something you cannot change.
10. Reward yourself.
Take a nap, watch a movie, or go out for a nice dinner. You have worked hard and deserve to treat yourself!
How do you prepare for midterms? Tell us in the comment section below!