Comstock Memorial Union

How to Survive Midterms

Midterms. One of the most dreaded words in a university student’s vocabulary. Spring break is just within reach, but the week of midterms and tests that comes before can be daunting. We reached out to students at the Academic Support Center to learn their tips for success when it comes to big assignments.

What is one thing you do to ensure a successful midterm week?

Grace Johnson 
Junior studying Elementary Inclusive Education
Student Specialist in Academic Support Center

“I try to start gathering all the material early. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to make Quizlets, notecards, study guides, etc., so I do this ahead of time and figure out what I don’t know and get help from professors or classmates (this gives me questions to ask during review days). It ensures that I am not scrambling or cramming in the end.”

Leticia Esteves Rodovalho
Junior studying Accounting
Academic Assistant for Tutoring Program

“I like to plan ahead (usually on Thursday night), what I am going to do in the week of the test and when I am going to find time to finish my homework and also study for the exam.”

Jacquelyn Schmidt
Senior studying Math Actuary
Academic Assistant for Tutoring Program

“I’m a big believer in breaking down tasks and assigning those to time periods. I use a planner to break down what I have to do and then enter it into my calendar on my phone for time periods. If I can see when I was planning on doing something I know if I’m not doing it then I have to push that to another time, maybe a time that I set aside for fun.”

What is one piece of advice for managing big assignments coming up?

“Set time limits or timers for yourself when studying so that you spend your time productively,” said Johnson. “When I tried to study one thing for hours, I ended up wasting a lot of time and not getting much done because I got tired and burned out.” 

 “Always have a planner and write down exams dates on it as soon as you can,” said Rodovalho. “Usually I prefer writing them down right when I get the syllabus in order to have enough time to plan ahead.”

“Don’t forget to take (SMALL!) breaks when studying and working on papers,” said Schmidt. “There’s a lot of different timing methods out there but they all highlight the same thing – the brain can’t focus on the same thing forever. Do 45 or so minutes of deep focus on a task (turn off notifications on your phone and computer, maybe even block distracting apps) and then come out of it and goof off for 15 minutes. Do a couple of sets of those and then take a longer break. You’d be surprised what you can get done when you’re focusing deeply instead of doing something lightly over several hours.”

Wondering how you can get more study help with midterms or other assignments creeping up? Learn more about the Academic Support Center by checking out their FREE tutoringadvising resourcesacademic counseling, and more!