Midterm Mayhem: How I’m Surviving the Madness

Samantha Kaplan-2015 Viterbi Class, Viterbi Life 1 Comment

Well, it’s that time of year again: midterm season.  Last semester, I got really lucky and had my midterms spread out amongst the weeks.  This Fall, however, my experiences have been a little different, considering the fact that I had two midterms last Thursday, and two more this week!  Studying for midterms can be really tough, especially since after 10 minutes of studying I usually like to reward myself with a 15 minute Facebook session.  I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve been doing to help myself survive during these hectic weeks:

1.  Study Hard, Study Smart:  For me, the hardest thing to do while studying is actually starting to study.  I always waste time looking at Facebook or Twitter before I actually get around to starting, mostly because I am trying to put off the inevitable.  I’ve found that the best thing I can do for myself is separate myself from my computer and phone so I have fewer distractions.  This means finding a quiet study space that is pretty secluded from other people.  A lot of times I use the study space in my Sorority house, but other times I go to Doheny, Leavey, or the Philosophy Library when I really want to buckle down.

2.  Study in Groups:  Studying in groups is so essential to success in Engineering.  Sometimes there are concepts that others understand that I don’t, or concepts that I understand that others don’t. The best way for everyone to understand every concept is to form a group where we can pool together our strengths.  I also find that studying with another person can help me focus.  Seeing them doing their work encourages me to do the same.  A lot of times, studying in groups can make it easy to be distracted; however, if you find a group of people who take their studies seriously, study groups are actually quite helpful.

3.  Eat Well:  Eating well is the best trick to staying energized and keeping your mind sharp.  When I’m studying, I like to choose healthy snacks like carrots or trail mix.  It’s essential to keep your body in good shape when you’re trying to get your brain into shape.  Also, I’ve found that taking study breaks for exercise helps get my body and mind re-energized and ready to start studying more!

4. Sleep: I’m definitely guilty of depriving myself of sleep during study season.  Lately, I’ve realized that getting sleep is probably more important than putting in an extra hour of studying at the end of a long night.  After making stupid mistakes on exams because I was too tired to completely focus, I now know that I should be well rested on the night before the exam and the nights leading up to the exam.

5. Relax: For me, it’s always been difficult to relax both before an exam and during an exam.  I am trying to get better at this, reassuring myself that I know the material and that I’ve prepared to the best of my abilities.  In order to help myself relax, I start studying at least a week in advance before any exam, allowing myself to maintain a low-pressure, slow study pace.  This will allow me to have more free time during the week to have meals with friends, watch a movie, go to the gym, or keep up with my social networking sites.

By adopting these habits, I’m trying to make this the most successful midterm season yet!  Wish me luck!

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