10 Tips To Surviving Midterms

I really do try to stay on top of my schoolwork throughout the semester. The problem in my program is that we have labs. Along with those labs come lab reports, and no, these types of reports are not your high school or CEGEP-type reports.  The accepted quality of work is close to what you would find on PubMed. However, we are not actually discovering anything (we are simply following instructions), so no one would ever actually get them published. Nonetheless, they take forever. My point is that the "little" assignments that are due weekly take precedence over studying. I now find myself, with 2 exams down, but 4 to go.

So, as much as I have tried to stay on top of my work, midterm week has crept up on me and I find myself in a slight panic (okay maybe not so slight). The first week of midterms always starts off well. I am motivated, I am not yet sleep-deprived and most importantly, I haven’t lost my will to live yet (perhaps a slight exaggeration).

This happens to me every semester, where the second wave of midterms gets pushed aside. Well now the time has come where it is do or die. 

These are my study tips to prepare for those exams. This is my survival guide for people out there like me. If you have prepared long in advance for all your exams, you can stop reading and I hate you. Take your smug, exam-ready face elsewhere…  

My 10 Tips To Surviving Midterms

Caffeine Control

1.  You might want to load up on caffeine, but don’t. If you normally drink zero coffee and start drinking 3 cups per day, you will go into a caffeine frenzy and not be able to concentrate. If you normally drink 3 cups of coffee, then stick to your three cups of coffee. Red Bull is a No-no. It has the equivalent of like 12 cups of coffee. It is poison, so stay away.

Water Intake 

2.  Water is your friend. The most important thing you can do is stay hydrated. Even if you have to pee every hour, drink up people.

Music: Soothing or Distracting?

3.  Listening to music is a double-edged sword. If you know the words to the song you will unconsciously start singing or “actively listening” along. If you can’t listen to pure silence, YouTube “white noise” or “nature study sounds”. You can choose between birds chirping, rain falling, thunderstorms and even a fire crackling. Whatever floats your boat, you can find it on YouTube.

Ditch The Phone 

4.  Do not keep your phone in front of you. The snaps will come in, the Insta notifications will pop up and there will always be a friend who “needs to talk”. You are not a bad friend, but you are pressed for time. Put the phone away and only check it once every hour (take 5 min and check everything at once). The only exception to this is when I need to text my friends a question (or call).

Learn Those Titles

5.  If you have 3 days until your exam and have just started studying, welcome to the club. Here is my trick: learn the PowerPoint titles. Legit just the titles. Once you can see what the main deal is, then go back and learn the subtitles. And so on and so forth until you have completed the PowerPoint. That way, you don’t spend time learning all the details of slide 1 but then run out of time and not even know what is on slide 114.

Get Outdoors 

6.  Take “smoke breaks”. Okay, in no way shape or form am I condoning or promoting smoking, but hear me out. Although I am not, nor have ever been a smoker, some of my friends are. When we would be studying for hours on end, they would ask me if I wanted to join them on their smoke breaks. Let me tell you, it is actually really refreshing to be outside for 10 minutes every few hours. When you are cooped up in a library all day, it can get really stuffy. Breathing in fresh air, while walking outside gave me a little burst of energy. I would then return to the library recharged and ready to keep going.

Examples Are Key

7.  Learn the examples. In my genetics class, the teacher would explain the theory and then give an example. Usually the example is to help you learn, and never something you will find on the actual test. However for this class, the test was practically exclusively the examples! For the final, I learned every single example he gave, and I noticed that it really helped me remember the theory. Because I was able to associate the boring theory with a real-life example, I ended up being able to “memorize” everything in half the time! Now this already may be obvious to everyone else, but personally, this is a new trick that I discovered.

Don't Panic, Ignore Thy Friends 

8.  Don’t panic and don’t ask questions. What I mean by that, is do not talk to your friends. Every time you ask them “Have you studied this yet” and they answer “Oh yeah, weeks ago, it is so easy”. Now you feel even worse than before. So moral of the story, ignore your organized, well prepared friends for the week.


9.  Study in time intervals. I either do 40/5, or 50/10. Meaning 40 minutes studying, 5 minutes break. It helps break up the day into little tasks instead of feeling like you have a mountain to tackle.

Get Those Zzz's 

10.  Do not pull all-nighters. It is so tempting, I know, but you need to take at least a 3-hour nap before the exam. You process information while you sleep, so you really need that time to let your mind absorb everything you just learned. 

There you have it, my study tips & tricks. I hope this has helped (even in the smallest way), and that you all ace your midterms.

Lastly, (again) , may the odds be ever in your favor. 

I promise I will get back to fashion, beauty and health next week (exam week has been a little hectic, to say the least). 


You can also check out my other lifestyle-type posts (on those 5 minute study breaks ;) )