It's that time of year that appears to sneak up on everyone faster than a fall breeze. I'm talking about midterms. It's the midway point in the semester that never feels so midway but requires days of studying none the less. For some of you, this can feel extremely overwhelming and you may not know where to begin on those three tests and two papers you have. As a junior, I have been through four semesters worth of midterms and have comprised an easy-to-follow and stress-free way to keep your mind and body focused during this dreaded time.
Rule 1: Make a List
Often times, the mere thought of everything you have to do is enough to make you want to curl up in bed and close your eyes until it's all over. This is also a surefire way to forget something. So, instead of relying on your crowded noggin to remember everything, start by visually laying out everything you have and want to accomplish. Doing this will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that no topic goes unreviewed.
Rule 2: Space It out
The inclination is to study everything you've learned all semester at once and hope it all stays in your brain for the test. In reality, the best way to learn and remember material is to study little bits of something over a period of time. Switch it up a bit! Plan on reviewing a chapter or two of a topic one day and then move on to something else. The topics will go a lot faster this way and it will also help you avoid getting bored of one topic and accidentally taking a siesta in the middle of Walsh Library.
Rule 3: Stay Motivated
Although it seems like a long process, remember that your goals are 100% achievable. Remind yourself what your working towards whether it's mastering that confusing equation or getting a good grade. In the end, you are the only one who can get yourself there so don't be afraid to give yourself that motivating boost to get yourself there. YOU CAN DO IT!
Rule 4: Nourishment
Don't forget to nourish your mind and body with healthy options to help keep yourself thinking clearly! There are numerous places on campus that offer a variety of delicious food options. With all the new additions to the menu on campus, such as Cosi and Jamba Juice, it'll be easy to find yourself chowing down while you tackle that paper.
Rule 5: Take Breaks
This may seem like an odd request, but ensuring that you take plenty of breaks while studying will keep you from burning out too quickly. Allowing yourself to watch an episode of your favorite show or hang out with your friends every now and then can keep your brain more focused than you think. In a sense, studying can be fun!
Rule 6: Get Moving
Sitting and studying for long periods of time can quickly take a toll on your body. To keep stress and tension from building up, remember to move around frequently. With two work out facilities and plenty of field space, it should be easy to blow off some steam with a pick-up game of soccer or a light jog.
Rule 7: Keep Calm and Carry on
Relax. Take a deep breath. If it is your first time taking a college test or your 100th, remember to keep calm. You've worked hard and know the material. No amount of worrying is going to help you in any way. Remember to remain confident and keep your mind clear.
Rule 8: GO TO SLEEP!!
The most important preparation you can do for yourself is getting plenty of sleep. It may seem like a good idea to stay up for days and cram every power point slide into your brain before the big day. This, however, is not a good idea. Just like your body needs rest after an injury, so does your brain after learning so many new things. You will retain more of the information you studied after a good night's sleep. Waking up after an hour of sleep before a test is also not going to be very beneficial. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day...because they had to sleep at some point!