How to Survive Your Midterm Exams

How to Survive Your Midterm Exams
  • Opening Intro -

    Does your university hold midterm exams before or after spring break?

    Hopefully, that answer is "before" because once your exams are over you're ready to let loose, at least for one week.


Midterm exams are hardly the highlight of your semester, but can have a big impact on your final grades. Midterms may account for 30 percent or more of your semester’s grade, so doing well is critical to your success. Here is how to survive your midterm exams.

1. Just back down. No, don’t back down from a fight, especially a fight for a good grade. What you need to do in the week leading up to the exam is back down from your extracurricular activities. Cut back on your club meetings, your game attendance and your social pursuits. Spend the week ramping up your studying, but do reward yourself with one fun outing or event just before exam week begins.

2. Meet up with classmates. Your classmates can make for good study partners, so set aside some time to meet up with them. Find a place where you can gather with a handful of other students to review and compare notes, discuss previous tests and quizzes, and see if you’re on the same page. It’ll break the monotony of studying by yourself too.

3. Eat right. Put away the Ramen noodles and cut back on your pizza consumption. Concentrate on eating a balanced diet as you prepare for your exams. Avoid overeating — a bloated feeling can make you feel tired or listless, making it more difficult to concentrate on your studying. Check out Harvard’s healthy eating plate for guidance.

4. Get some exercise. One routine that you don’t want to change is your exercise regimen. And if you don’t have one, begin one now. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mentions a number of benefits with exercising including improving your mental health and your mood. When you’re stressed, exercise can help counter those feelings.

5. Sleep tight. So, you plan to burn the midnight oil. Is that the best approach? Some students thrive under pressure and can do quite well with their exams by studying late especially the night before the exam. They manage to pull down the high grades too — why can’t we all do that? Well, you’re not them. Moreover, your retention rate plummets — not a problem with courses outside of your major, but a possible big issue for those that are inside of your major.

6. Reach out to your instructors. Do you need a point clarified about your classwork? Perhaps about a recent exam or a term paper. Making an appointment with one or more instructors can help clear matters, but don’t wait until a day or two before the exam — your professor will be too busy. A good personal policy is to stay on top of each class as you move through the semester, seeking clarification as you go.

Midterm Exam Day

Clear your schedule on midterm exam day. If you can take off from work, then do so. If not, tell your boss you need to curtail your schedule or perhaps give you a break from some of your regular responsibilities. When the exams are over, take a break, then come back ready to finish the semester with renewed vigor.

See AlsoStudy Tips of End of Semester Exams


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Categories: Study Tips