4 Ways to Ease Midterm Stress

Learn how to survive midterms with our tips for reducing stress during midterm exams in college.
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Learn how to survive midterms with our tips for reducing stress during midterm exams in college.

The time of year we students dread most approaches - it's almost midterm season. 

Just when you've established a familiar routine and have begun to relax, your highlighted calendar reminds you of two exams, a project, and a research paper due NEXT WEEK. My midterms definitely snuck up on me - I was just getting into the swing of things and now I'm halfway through the semester!

Now, there's no way to get around it. This time of year is STRESSFUL. Midterms account for a huge percentage of most classes' final grades - meaning this is the time to establish a good foundation for the rest of the semester. Although your anxiety is most likely skyrocketing, it is important to keep stresses at a minimum during this time; it has been proven that stress can lead to illness and poor performance on tests.

Here are 4 tips to help you beat your stress and rock your midterms this semester.

1. Start studying now

You've heard about good study habits since middle school: don't procrastinate, avoid cramming, review a little bit each day, etc. Sure, it seems like common sense. Duh, you're going to follow that advice. Of course procrastination is wrong! But then... all of a sudden, one day you realize that your huge economics exam is only three days away... and you're watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything.

Creating a study schedule a few weeks before the start of midterms is a surefire way to stay on top of your studying. Sit down and map out your exam and class schedule. (Here are some tips on how to do that for every class.) Then, figure out what material you need to study for each class. Look over lecture notes, book summaries and reviews, and any additional supplemental readings. Do a little bit each day to avoid cramming at the last minute.

2. Stay healthy

Being healthy is so important this time of year. I was sick two weeks ago and it was HORRIBLE. I can't imagine having to tackle midterms AND a cold at the same time.

During the weeks leading up to exams, make sure that your habits are healthy. Eat good foods, get a good night's sleep, and exercise plenty. Exercising will ensure that you have natural energy to get you through the day. It will also be a welcomed break from all that thinking! Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to beat stress and stay healthy.

3. Be organized

This should go without saying, but we all forget anyway: be organized! Midterms are already stressful; don't add anxiety to your life by having a messy desk, room, or schedule. When you have to print out a research paper 20 minutes before your next class, don't waste 15 minutes looking for a stapler!

Organization allows you to be more efficient in school, work, and life. Don't worry about finding clothes, digging through paper piles, or searching for a pen - organize your study space, your closet, your agenda, and your room and fret instead about other pressing matters!

4. Go outside

I'm a Minnesota girl and in the state of 10,000 lakes, we know the value of some good ol' nature time. When the weather is nice, I make sure to spend a little time outside every day. Whether you are taking a break from studying to go for a walk, soaking up some vitamin D in the grass, or even just studying outside at a picnic table instead of in the library, the time spent in the open air will invigorate your senses and brighten your day.

Close your books (or take them with you!) and go outside. You will miss having the ability to do this when winter comes around, trust me.

More Freshman Year Tips, Experiences, and Advice

This article is part of our Freshman Experience series. For more, see: 8 Week Countdown, College Orientation, Tips & Tricks for Meeting the Roommate, Dorm Room Shopping Tips, First Semester Goals, College Packing List, Getting Involved on Campus, College Misconceptions & Ask a Freshman, Freshman Year Questions - Answered, Thanksgiving Break Essentials, Tackling Holiday Shopping in College, First Semester Goals Revisited, and Final Thoughts.

Your turn!

Right now I'm prepping for and stressing about my upcoming exams, projects, and papers. Hopefully I can beat stress as best as possible and have a successful midterm week! Freshman girls, how are you handling the first of many midterm seasons? Study tips and tricks? Major projects coming up that you just need to vent about? Leave your thoughts below!

Veteran girls, do you have any advice for us? Any stressful, successful, or all-out crazy exam stories? What would you add to the list above? Tell us in a comment!