By Jenna Newman, Falvey Memorial Library’s Cat in the ‘Stax
Even writing this post, I’m still in denial that midterms are actually in full swing, which is probably a bad thing considering I have an exam in a couple of hours! It feels like we were just meeting professors for the first time and adjusting to taking some of, if not all, our classes online. But here we are—the leaves are changing color, the weather’s getting cooler, and—as much as we all just want to get outside and enjoy spooky season and all of the fun activities fall brings—midterms are upon us.
Below I’ve shared my top three tips for staying sane during midterms, as well as some super helpful resources that will help you ace your exams, papers, and presentations.
#1 Balance is still important: It can be tempting to spend all of your time studying, but cramming is actually not the solution. You don’t need to cancel all of your plans and have no fun, but you do need to make a plan to study effectively. Spend a couple of hours each day studying for your exam and then take brain breaks doing things you enjoy—going for a walk, getting in some exercise, hanging out with friends, curling up under a blanket with a book, or binging your favorite show. Even short breaks to grab a snack or fill your coffee cup are good ways to rest your brain and reset before the next study session.
#2 You’re not going through this alone: As another famous Wildcat team once said, “We’re all in this together!” Right now everyone is dealing with midterms in some form or another, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other people because they get what you’re going through. There are lots of ways to band together amidst midterms, even with many of us being physically apart. Host a Zoom study session or study with your roommates in your dorm room or apartment. Even if you aren’t studying for the same exam or writing the same paper, being around other people being productive always helps me! A good phone call or vent session can also be beneficial, just make sure complaining isn’t taking up all your study time.
#3 Eliminate distractions: Believe it or not, studying while watching Netflix is not the most effective way to get things done. As hard as it may be, it’s important to put aside all distractions in order to get focused study time. Thirty minutes of focused study time followed by a 15-minute break is just as, if not more, effective than half doing work while watching the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars for 45 minutes. Turn off notifications on your phone and laptop, and really focus. Personally, I’ll put my phone in a different room so that I’m not even tempted to grab it because “checking one text” can so easily turn into 30-minutes scrolling through content you’ve already seen on Instagram.
BONUS TIP: Take advantage of available resources! Below is a list of resources that Falvey has to offer, both during midterms and all semester long!
- TechZone – Get help with connectivity, VPrint, software, hardware and other technical problems
- Printing & Scanning – Provides information about printers and scanners
- Writing Center – one-on-one tutoring to help improve your writing
- Mathematics Learning Resources Center – Offers space, resources, and tutoring for working on math coursework
- Center for Access, Success and Achievement – Provides holistic support to underrepresented, first generation, Pell Eligible, and scholarship students
- Center for Speaking and Presentation – Assists students at any stage in their speech preparation process
- Learners’ Studio – Facilitates free 1:1 and group tutoring in over 100 courses
- Learning Support Services – Provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and various services to maximize academic success for all Villanova students
- Librarians & Research Services – Get help from a librarian with research project or class assignment
Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Contemplating taking my own tips and studying for my midterm exams.