Midterms = studying, anxiety, coffee, and late nights

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By Scott Lariviere, Staff Writer

It’s that time of the semester! For first-years, it’ll be a new college experience, but for upperclassmen, the dread of it can almost be unbearable. What time is it? Midterms!

So, what do you do about that stress? There is a combination of things you can and should do. But the first is: don’t panic.

Of course, there are many methods to studying, but which is the best for you?

Well, before you consider which study method you want to use, you need to establish some sort of de-stressing activity that you will do for breaks. You don’t want to be overly stressed because anxiety may get in the way and that’s not healthy.

Ideas of ways to unwind and de-stress in between your study time are, but not limited to: Going for a walk, run, and other exercise, playing an instrument, taking a nap, playing a board game with friends, going out to dinner, and watching a movie.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “How does this help me to study?”

If you exhaust your brain you are more likely to forget the material. Your eyes will be strained after reading or from writing during your study time. It’s good to put the books down, put the notes away, and just sit down and have a good time for a break.

You also want to avoid being too stressed out so that when the day of the test comes, you won’t be worried that you’ll panic and block the material out.

Once you’ve decided on an idea of a break from studying, you’ll need to design a schedule for how long you will study, and how long you will break.

Now you have to decide on how to study. If you’re an English major and have a lot of heavy reading to do or review, one great way to study is reading along with a recording of the text.

What this does is it allows you to hear the text. You’ve already read it or are reading it, so now you get to hear it. You can either kick back and listen and take notes as you listen or you can follow along with the recording. You can find a lot of audiobooks on YouTube.

Make study groups! While you may be more accustomed to studying alone, group studying can be very beneficial. You can discuss the material and in the sharing of the study work, you are able to exchange info you may have missed in class or in your own studying. Perhaps you didn’t take notes on something a classmate has.

So, form a study group because they are beneficial.

When memorizing material, you can use flash cards, reading out loud, etc.

Something else worth trying: Use a study-buddy, or a group to take turns playing “teacher.”

Sure, it sounds silly, but teaching another how to do something is a different perspective. If you are forced to teach someone something, you find yourself figuring it out in order to do so, and you yourself will learn from it.

Then, switch it up and have the other person teach you. This method is similar to using flashcards with a study-buddy. But what this method does is forces questions to be asked and answers to be given.

Your classmate(s) should be as familiar with the material as you are after some class discussions and traditional studying.

Having to offer an explanation of the course content to a study buddy requires you to have an answer or figure it out.

But, what if you’re “teaching” your study-buddy incorrectly because you haven’t fully grasped the material? No worries, they will question you on it and you both will come to an answer after working together on it. This is simply getting you to look at the material in a different way.

This method helps too because it’s like you’re taking the test. Think about it, if you’re “teaching” someone the content, that means you are establishing you know the material and you’re engaged in it. That is exactly what test taking is!

Now to recap –

First plan your study times and study times will vary. Then you plan your breaks. You have to make sure you spend enough time studying but you don’t want to be burned out. So yes, relaxation is a part of studying, too!

If you mesh studying with relaxation and de-stressing, you will have a healthier and readier approach to studying and taking your midterms.

Remember too that it is only a test. If you remember to study, breathe, and relax, you will do just fine.

Photo Courtesy: Scott Lariviere

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