Have you ever had two midterms and a midterm paper due in the same week? If so, you aren’t alone. After a couple of grueling midterms seasons here at Berkeley, here are some of my tips to survive these long weeks!
Prioritize the midterm that happens first
Although it may sound obvious, you should focus on the midterm at the beginning of your week first. That way you can get as much progress with that topic. If you have two midterms due on the same day, try to gauge which one is the most important to focus on for your major. For example, if you have a midterm for a challenging course you need for your major and a midterm for a breadth requirement on the same day, it might be best to focus on the midterm for your major. That doesn’t mean completely ignore your other midterm, but it’s important to know your priorities clearly before you start an intense week of midterms!
Don’t study for one class for hours on end
Studying for the same course for multiple hours on end can quickly lead to burnout. Luckily, in a busy week of midterms, you have many things to study for which can make things a little bit easier. What I like doing is studying one subject for about an hour and rotating through each one, that way you keep things more lively and be more engaged with a fresh mind. Since I’m an English major, I usually have larger papers due all in the same week, so being able to step away from my writing and come back with a fresh pair of eyes can really help a lot. Like always though, make sure you take a couple of breaks in between those hours you are studying different subjects — even if they are only for 5 minutes.
Make an hour-by-hour schedule every day that week
When you have a rough week with multiple deadlines, it’s really important to set out your schedule well and in as much detail as possible. We’ve all had days where a quick 15-minute break turns into an hour, which is why scheduling is really important! At the beginning of every day, set up an hour-by-hour schedule with all your classes, meeting times and the specific times you are setting aside to study. If you want to put the previous tip into practice, you can even mark what hours you will be studying or working on each midterm you have for the week so you can allocate time for each subject.
Go to office hours the week before
If you have questions about the study guides or problem sets you have to study for the midterm, you should try to go to office hours a week beforehand. If you’re in a major that is more paper-heavy this is something that I would highly recommend, since I have had instances where I go to office hours a couple of days before the paper is due and my entire thesis can get scraped which leads to a lot of last-minute revisions. As college students, most people are planning to go to office hours during the week of the midterm, which is why planning ahead is really important.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and help you get through your harsh week of tests and papers. Good luck this midterm season!