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Managing Midterms

Courtesy of schnappischnap, Flickr

As midterms  approach, the days where I can start studying continue dwindling away. 

Remember, pain is temporary; GPAs are forever. There may be a reason the word studying ends in “dying,” but if you follow these tips, your midterm week will be a little less stressful.


Study (and flirt): Clemson has great Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders and Teaching Assistants (TAs), and both are always helpful. You may be tempted to skip out on that review session, but this could be a huge mistake. Most of the time, these sessions cover the main exam topics and are a great way to review on the eve of a midterm. 

Also, this is a great opportunity to talk to your crush in class. Ask them to join your study group because talking to other people and getting them to explain the material may be easier to understand than looking through your old notes.


Enjoy the silence: If you aren’t attending a study session, find a quiet place where you can stay focused and uninterrupted — Cooper Library is the best place to go for studying. The silent zone will become your best friend before midterms. Grab a cocoon and a comfortable chair and just camp out in the library basement for a while. Your dorm room or apartment may seem like a great place to go, but there are always distractions there. 


Go off the grid: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are all distractions. So while you’re studying, disconnect for an hour or so. Put your phone on airplane mode and you will be surprised by how much you can accomplish when technology doesn’t get in the way. You can look through pictures of the good-looking baseball team later. Right now, it’s study time.


Meet with your professor: Stop by office hours — they are there for a reason. You may be surprised at how much your professor is willing to share.

They are there to help you learn, so take advantage of them! Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.


Cram effectively: Don’t wait until the night before your exam to begin studying for it. Setting aside study time, reviewing notes from class and planning early will help you feel prepared. Your brain gradually stores up information, so just studying the material for an hour or so every night will help greatly when midterm time comes. But if you must cram, focus on main points instead of details, and memorize key words to jog your memory.


Take a break: A 12-hour marathon study session won’t do anything but make you crazy. Instead take study breaks every hour or so, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Also, leave your study area when you do. Take that break to go to Java City, or make a lap around the library; it’s great exercise and you never know who you will run into there!


Sleep. A lot: Being sleep deprived before an exam is not going to help, so make sure you get your daily recommended eight to nine hours of sleep a night. You won’t be able to concentrate on studying for your test if you’re constantly drifting off  to sleep.


Music: Music is really important to get you in the mood to study. Pick music that makes you feel happy and productive. Personally, I’m a “Disney Children’s Radio” person on Pandora. Nothing gets me in the mood to write a paper or study for an exam like the “Tarzan” and “The Lion King” soundtracks. Plus listening to a song on repeat while studying a specific subjecthelps with recall.


Get a cup of joe: God did not give us coffee beans and espresso shots for nothing. Java City is your go to for all of your caffeine needs. White Mochas are my lifeline when I need to stay awake to study, or go for an Eye Opener.


Don’t Panic: Finally, relax! You’re going to do great. It’s not going to help to stress about the exam. Just remember you are smart because, after all, you are at Clemson University. Make Cooper your best friend, and you will

fly through midterms without any problems.

Happy midterm week, and may the curve be ever in your favor.

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