Chloe Watson, Associate Writer
Picture this: The semester started about a month ago, and classes, sports, extracurricular activities and maybe even a work study have all slotted perfectly into a well-planned schedule. Everything is going great - homework getting turned in on time, projects are taken care of, papers are done before they're due, there's even some free time. However, this seems unrealistic.
More likely, things are a little chaotic. Homework is being put off, Black Board assignments are getting turned in at 11:59 p.m….it will only take one little nudge to topple the precariously-balanced system.
Then come midterms. Here’s a practical list on how to cope.
1. Figure out the test type
If a professor hasn't specified what type of test it is, talk to them. Unlike finals, there never seems to be a set formula for midterms. Some are cumulative, some just count as another test and some professors just use their student's current average as their grade. Figure this out for every class, and plan accordingly.
2. Prepare a few weeks ahead
If homework has begun to slip, if that mid-semester procrastination has crept in, try to nip that in the bud. Maybe, just maybe, take that hour usually set aside for napping and catch up on some assignments. Nothing due? Great, now work ahead. It's not hard. Clearing up some projects and ensuring that nothing big will sneak up opens up time for the next step.
Study, study, study. Even if it's just fifteen minutes a class every other night, it'll help. Do not cram. Cramming is useless and only causes more stress. Study a little every day at least a week in advance. Some people like flashcards, some people like rereading and highlighting some people even like doodling illustrations of their notes. Find the right style, but try new things too.
4. Copy notes
One great strategy for studying includes recopying notes. If you take notes on paper, make a study guide through Microsoft Word. Type out the main points for each chapter, as well as a few definitions. Go over it bit by bit, even just a chapter a day, and it will really refresh the information.
5. Eat healthy
A couple tests upcoming tests are not an excuse for abandoning that diet or healthy lifestyle. It may sound fake, but vegetables and lean proteins actually increase sharpness of the mind. Drink a lot of water, not just coffee and soda. Remember, North Greenville has a salad bar, maybe check it out.
Yet another reason cramming isn't good. A lot of students like bragging about how little they've slept or how many all-nighters they've pulled, but they're not going to be able to focus on test day if they're sleep deprived.
As senior Savannah Elgin put it, “it’s really important to know the limits of your body. Some people might be able to pull all-nighters and not think twice, but others get migraines if they don’t get enough sleep.” Aim for at least seven hours, though eight is ideal.
7. Have a Class Partner
This does not necessarily mean have a person to study with. Though it might help some, that generally tends to be distracting. Instead, talk to whoever's sitting in the next row over - exchange numbers, get to know them. If you miss a class, ask them for their notes. That way, when the test comes, there's never a completely unfamiliar section.
8. Turn off Technology
Most likely, you'll need a laptop when studying, but not a phone. Social media and other apps send notifications designed to pull you in. Odds are, there won't be any emergencies in the next hour, so just shut it down. Things will be fine.
9. Make a Rewards System
It's not easy to sit and study for hours at a time – even the thought can be terrifying. Stressing out over the thought isn’t going to get any work done. Set a goal, based off of how much time required and personal self-control. One popular system is the Pomodoro method, which involves getting a five-to-ten-minute break for every 25 minutes work. Alternatively, try rewards like “a cookie for every finished chapter,” or something of that sort.
10. Finally, just relax
Nothing is more upsetting and distracting than stress. Remember to breathe. If it becomes overwhelming, then stop. It will be okay. Midterms are definitely stressful, but making a lower grade will not be the end of the world. There will be time to catch up, and more important things are on the horizon.
After all, finals are only half a term away.