Freshman midterm survival guide

Elena Erdekian and Lina Baranovsky

As freshmen who have never taken midterms yet, it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, daunted and anxious just by thinking about the upcoming exams. We’re here to give you a step-by-step guide on how to successfully prepare for your exams. Midterms are a difficult time, but they are totally manageable. With good organizational skills and a positive mindset, you will do great!

The week before your exams
During this week before your exams, you should begin organizing your notes and papers for each class. This step is crucial because it’s extremely difficult to study effectively if you’re unorganized. When you’re studying, it’s easiest to go through one unit at a time, so use paper clips to physically separate each unit. Next, make a checklist for each class of each unit or topic that you need to study, and cross off each unit as you study it. Once you’re organized and ready to study, begin studying a little bit every night of this week (approx. 10 minutes per subject) once you’ve finished your other homework. For classes with a lot of memorization (like biology), begin reviewing a unit per night. That way, you won’t have to cram the night before the exam, and you can use that time to focus on the more challenging topics. Don’t stress yourself out over studying yet; you will probably have other tests this week because it’s the end of the quarter!

The weekend before
If you haven’t begun already, you should definitely begin studying the weekend before your exams. This weekend should be reserved for studying, and you shouldn’t plan many other events during these few days. You should spend the bulk of Saturday and Sunday studying, but give yourself a break at night (but don’t stay out too late!) Yes, you may feel like you’re “wasting” your weekend, but in the end, the hard work will pay off! It’s important to use this time to study for all your exams; make sure you don’t get caught up in one subject. To do this, study in chunks of 45 minutes per subject and take 15 minute breaks. Doing this will keep your mind refreshed and not burnt-out. Make sure to eat a good breakfast, give yourself a lunch break and have snacks to keep you energized.

The night before
While you study, take breaks to let your brain rest. Do a workout if you feel burnt-out; this will distract you and get the blood flowing before you continue studying. Also if you are feeling stuck, try going to the town library. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night during midterm week, the library is open until 11 p.m. and free pizza is served. Another helpful tip is to write short review notes in your phone that you often forget or are really important for the subject(s) that are the next day. That way, you can review that note before bed, on the way to school, and/or right before the exam when you are in class waiting for the teacher to pass out materials. Stop studying at least an hour before you go to bed so you can easily fall asleep, and work on decreasing anxiety and stress as much as you can. Do something relaxing after you study such as taking a bath, reading a book or having a cup of tea. Pack your bag the night before with a few extra pencils, a water bottle, a snack if you are taking two exams and a calculator if you’re taking math. Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Don’t stress out or panic at this time; cram studying won’t be effective at this point. You are prepared for this!

The morning of
Wake up on time and get dressed in your most comfortable outfit. This week is all about comfort; don’t feel hesitant to wear your softest sweatpants or even slippers! Eat a healthy, filling breakfast and leave your house with enough time to get to school by 7:30 (even though the exam starts at 7:45) so you have time to confirm the room your exam is in and settle in.

Right after
After you finish your exams for the day, you will probably be feeling somewhat tired. Go home as soon as you can after your exams, and give yourself a long break before you begin studying for your next exam. If you’re feeling sleepy, feel free to take a lengthy nap (but don’t sleep for the whole day). Even a quick power nap can recharge you and allow you to study better. After you take your break, be ready to get back to work; you got this!

After all of them
Give yourself a nice pat on the back because you just survived your first midterms! Relax, watch Netflix, hang out with friends, go out to lunch or do whatever you want to reward yourself for your hard work. Over the weekend, it’s helpful to clear out your folders and binders so you can start the second semester without all that weight on your shoulders. Be proud of yourself because you got through it! Congrats, guys! 😀

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.