Midterms are Coming

One of only two times a semester that we can encourage you to enjoy a Study Break without feeling too self-promotional.

By Finlea Baxter, University of Oklahoma


It is a truth universally acknowledged that in the face of upcoming exams, a student will do whatever is necessary to avoid the clutches of the six-hour study binge.

Procrastination techniques range from the mildly ridiculous to the are-you-insane depending on the dedication and ingenuity of the student in question, and I have seen strange things, my friends.

And though I know how reluctant you are to begin the study marathon, how much you’re dreading the inevitable dry-mouthed terror of taking your seat next someone you didn’t know existed because he never came to class, I also know that without proper preparation, you will suffer a fate far worse than research-driven sleep deprivation: failure.

I have been in the trenches. I have seen the horrors of battle. And I have emerged a much different woman than I went in.

Now, before the last of the tests are done with and the sweet keening of the spring break bells call you prematurely away from your duty as a student, I will share my wisdom.

These are the five steps to surviving midterms.

Step 1: Just Do the Stupid Readings

Yes, they’re obnoxious.

Yes, it feels like the only person enjoying this is the author.

Yes, we can all tell how much this writer loves to hear him/herself talk.

The thing is, your professor doesn’t care how much you hate the reading, nor how pretentious the writing is. We all know that this crap is drier than a slab of Texas concrete in July. That’s not the point of all this.

The point is to see whether or not you are able sort through the BS long enough to glean some measure of knowledge from the text. I mean, there is a reason why the professor is in charge, and it’s not to justify the shiny plaque on the door.

Step 2: Allow Yourself Time for a Study Break

See what I did there? Because study breaks… Study Breaks magoh just forget it.

Anyway, I know you think that sitting in that chair for hours and hours on end is going to help you, but that is just not the case.

Your mind will get to a point where you simply cannot absorb any more information, no matter how hard you drag your eyes across the respective screens and pages.

The sad fact is that the human body was not meant to be crouched in the Gollum-pose that most of us assume when we go to cram for midterms.

Go outside.

Remember the Sun? I do, vaguely. Go and enjoy it. It’s pleasantly warm at this time of year, and it’s nice enough to light up the entire street for hours and hours and hours so that you can go and walk around a little. Respect the Sun’s efforts. Go outside.

Step 3: Remember to Eat

Admittedly, I’m not very good about this one, which is why I stress it so much.

Your body cannot run without proper fuel. It doesn’t matter how much you studied for the exam if you can’t focus long enough to write down an answer. It can be surprisingly easy to deprioritize eating when in the grips of an all-out study binge, but I cannot stress hard enough how important it is to take time to eat at least something.

And, hey! You might even use your meal-break as an opportunity to go and communicate with other human beings. Or not. Either way.

Step 4: Go the F*ck to Sleep

 But I need to s—

No.

But—

No.

But I—

No.

I do not care how much time and effort you have put into preparing for this stupid exam. If you fall asleep in the middle of it, you have failed.

I know this is college and sleep is for the weak, but I think it’s about time you were weak for a few hours.

You mind needs time to process the information you just crammed into it, and it can’t do that if you’re sitting jacked up in front of a textbook with your eyes redder and more swollen than a rotting pomegranate.

You want to pass? Go the hell to sleep.

Step 5: Hakuna Your Tatas

Don’t be like me. I am a wild, manic human being who goes into every exam with my heart racing and my stomach churning, convinced that the world is about to end.

Yes, midterms are important, but at the end of the day, it’s just a test. In the grand scheme of things, even if you totally bomb this exam, there are still plenty of other opportunities to pass this course. And the more panicked you are going in, the more likely you are to make a mistake.

Just cool it. You are intelligent and well-prepared. And you are going to rock this thing in the face.

There you have it, my ducklings: Fin’s midterm survival guide.

It is also applicable to any and all finals and minor tests throughout the semester, along with any other presentations you might have to make. Please be careful, dears, and remember that spring break is just around the corner.