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Midterms 101 – How to Prepare for College Midterm Exams

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October is one of the best and worst months to be a college student.

It can be the best with endless tailgating, and Halloween fun, but it can also be one of the most stressful with midterms taking a serious toll on your mind, body and mental health. Who really thought that giving back-to-back exams was ever a good idea? Uh, no one. Following along with midterm study tips is an essential way to survive this dreaded week of college…then you can get back to drinking on Tuesdays lol.

From my freshman year all the way up to graduate school, I learned so much about the best way to not only survive but thrive during the dreaded midterms season. Keep reading below to learn about the best midterm study tips and you’ll not only survive, but you’ll thrive during your hell week.

college midterms - Midterm study Tips

Midterm Study Tips:

Plan Ahead.

Planning ahead is one of the greatest things you can do before the height of the college midterm season. It will help you remain as calm (as physically possible at the time) and will not leave you in the dark about what to come and what to expect.

I loved laying everything out in calendar form using a whiteboard calendar. Seeing everything laid out day by day can really appease your mental stress as you know what’s happening on a day by day, or week by week schedule. By organizing your time in that form, you can easily plan the best and most effective way to study for all your exams.

If planning out the whole month is just too much, Try a weekly planner!

Create a college midterms study schedule.

Planning out a study schedule will actually save your life. Unfortunately, with the workload demands of midterms, you need to start studying pretty far in advance (ugh, I know). This can range from a week before to several weeks before.

By creating a study schedule and laying everything out, you won’t be stuck cramming for exams and left with any unanswered questions. I like to go section by section- that way if you are confused by any material you have time to ask about it, rather than the night before your exam at 4 am.

Attend Office Hours/ Review Sessions.

Usually, these can be super helpful…not always, but it doesn’t hurt to attend!

Here you can befriend the teacher/teaching assistant and ask about any material which you may be confused, testing format etc.

Seriously, ladies, I’m telling you, getting to know your professor or teaching assistant can again save your life. I even put save in bold because I’m THAT SERIOUS.

My freshman year of college I was terrible at calculus…like really bad (not I got an A- bad). I got to know my professor before the final by attending office hours (I needed a 56 to pass the class). On the final exam, I got a 56. Now I’ll never truly know if I just got extremely lucky, but I really think that attending office hours saved my ass that year. That’s my theory and I’ll stick with it until I die.

Moral of the story- it pays to go to office hours, friends.


Contrary to popular collegiate belief, pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam is not the best method of test preparation.

When I tried to pull an all-nighter to study for an exam, I would end up hitting a brick wall and retaining little if any information for my tests. You gotta let yourself rest so you can perform to your full potential!

If you want to stay sane during midterms at least try to catch some Zzzs. Bonus points- your immune system will thank you in the long run.

Exercise/ Eat Well.

Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and get those endorphins flowing. Sign up for a fast-paced spin class, or slow it down with a vinyasa yoga flow. Find yourself in the present moment and you’ll feel so much better. Mindfulness is key.

Gaiam.Yoga Banner

Also during midterms, it’s super easy to just order take out or grab fast food. Try and eat well if you can! The better you eat the better you’ll feel.

Take a bath.

One of my favorite ways to relieve built up stress is by taking a bath. I love setting up a relaxing atmosphere by lighting some lavender aromatherapy candles, putting on a mud mask and just sitting in the tub.

No bath would be complete without a soothing Calily bath bomb. Get yourself a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy. 🙂

Know Where You’re Going And at What Time.

Absolutely one of the most imporant midterm study tips!

Not always, but sometimes midterm exams are scheduled at different times/locations compared to your normal classes. Make sure you know where you’re going and at what time! It’ll eliminate a ton of stress to plan this out ahead of time. Also, make sure to arrive early (duh). If it’s super early in the morning set multiple alarms or have a family member/friend call as your backup.

how to study for midterms

*Related Post: Check out how to study for Finals here!*

Be Confident.

Mindset is everything ladies! By following these midterm study tips, you’re well on your way to successfully completing one of the worst weeks in college existence.

You got this!

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