Fretting over midterms? Here are some strategies for overcoming the stress

Stress of midterms can be handled with some simple tips. (TROY photo/Clif Lusk)

With spring break just around the corner, every student on campus expects, and sometimes frets, midterms approaching. 

As a student who likes to be involved on campus, but also likes the looks of an ‘A’ on her paper, I have 5 tips I like to keep in mind when it is time to be put to the test.

Let me share them with you!

Students study in the Troy Campus Library. (TROY photo)
Students study in the Troy Campus Library. (TROY photo)

1. Communicate.

Whether it be with professors or classmates, communication is key to conquering a midterm. Do not be afraid to ask your professor plenty of questions regarding the material on your exam, paper, group project, whatever the midterm may be. 

Will there be a study guide? Will there be any discussion questions? 

It is always better to be overprepared than underprepared! Make sure that you have an idea of what to expect and what materials to use when studying. I always feel like I might be pestering other students when I ask a million questions, but then I remember, that asking questions is why I here in the first place!

2. Reach Out.

There are plenty of classmates that are just as nervous for the midterm as you are. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a classmate with whom you are familiar. 

What if they are looking for someone to study with? What if you initiated a study group with your classmates?

But, hey, talking to the person you sit by each day is not for everyone. That is when it would be wise to use resources such as those offered in Eldridge Hall. 

You could reach out to a tutor before it is too late!


Yes, that is right, I am advising you sleep to prepare for that midterm. Take it as a warning not to pull an all-nighter. 

Trying to retain information while suffering from sleep deprivation is not exactly “words to the wise.” Make sure to get seven hours of sleep, because it helps improve memory and learning!

Naps are okay, too, but only when they are 20-to 30-minute power naps that will increase your energy once you wake up. Other than that, you might be walking on eggshells, my friend!

4. Find Your Fit.

There are multiple study methods for a valid reason. Not everyone retains information the same way! Do not be afraid to go against the grain and try a different study method. 

I discovered I am an audible learner and retain information better whenever it is spoken to me, played in a song, or when I say it aloud. 

This information makes my studying so much easier, because I know the best setting for me is in a room alone where I can read aloud over and over without inconveniencing anyone. 

5. Break It Down.

Breaks are your friend during midterm season. Studying for multiple midterms can be overwhelming and intense. 

Taking short breaks to grab a snack, talk on the phone, step outside, etcetera can ease your mind. It has been proven beneficial to study in increments. Some prefer the Pomodoro Technique:

-Pick ONE task.

-Set a 25-minute timer and work on the ONE task the entire time.

-Take a swift 5-minute break.

-For every 4 Pomodoros, which were the first three steps mentioned above, take a relaxing 15- to 25-minute break.

Do not let midterms cast doubts on yourself. At the end of the day, you have technically prepared for it since the beginning of the semester!

Good luck and happy studying!