How to stay cool, calm and collected: Midterms edition

A drawing of a newspaper, a notebook, and a pencil on a light orange surface.
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Midterm season is rapidly approaching — the time during the semester when it’s just test after test. It may have even already begun for you. Midterms can be stressful, especially if you aren’t prepared. If this experience sounds a bit too familiar, this season can be a nightmare to get through. Here are some tips to try to mitigate that stress. 


This is a simple tip that can be hard to follow. The best way to not panic about a midterm is to know the material. Yet, it can be hard to know what you need to study and for how long. This can make it hard to set time aside to study productively. Just set a regular time to study and don’t stress about it. Review your notes and lecture slides, and try to write the concepts into your own words and diagrams. This way, you’ll have a better chance of acing the midterm — which will ultimately make it a less worrisome experience. 

Ask for help

If there’s something you don’t understand, find someone who does. It’s not worth the risk of assuming it won’t be on the test. Your pride won’t be bruised by admitting you haven’t already mastered the material. Asking for help is the best way to make sure you know everything, and it’ll give you a leg up on everyone who valued their pride more than their education.

Don’t cram before the test

Studying is not like a school project — you can’t wait until the night before to do it all. If you did, you’ll feel sleep-deprived and stressed. You may have even done better if you hadn’t crammed at all. Your tired brain won’t be able to remember all the things you tried to learn the night before. So study in small increments beforehand and avoid the stress of staying up late trying to learn everything.

Remember that grades don’t define you

Most of the previous tips were for helping you do well on midterms. Sometimes, though, a test is harder than you expected, and you did poorly on it — and that’s okay. Remember, just because you got a bad grade doesn’t mean that you’re not smart. It just means you had a difficult time with the material. So take a deep breath and try to take your mind off of the bad grade.

Relax, you got this

Midterms are a source of stress. No matter how prepared you are, they can still be scary. Try not to let fear consume you. Just prepare to the best of your abilities. Nobody can ask any more of you. You’ve gone through midterms in the past and made it to the other side. You got this.

Good luck on all of your midterms! Hopefully, these tips will help your midterm season be successful and contain as little stress as possible — you at least deserve that.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected].