Top 10 Tips for Surviving Midterm Exams

A photo of the Lewis Center building on DePaul University’s Loop campus with more Chicago buildings in the background.

       Midterms are obviously one of the more annoying aspects of college and your classes, but there are a ton of things you can do to put yourself in the best position to do well. Here are 10 of my favorite tips for dealing with midterms, and these can also be applied to final exams and just everyday classwork as well.

1. Have a plan

This is at number one for a reason. It is so important to have a plan when studying so that you use your time effectively and efficiently. This means thinking about things like how much time you want to dedicate to each class, identifying what topics you need to go over, making sure you have all the necessary materials, etc.



2. Take care of yourself

This one is crucial. If you are stressed out about your exams it is so easy to just forget about other things you need or have going on, specifically taking care of yourself. It’s important to make sure you are maintaining your daily routine and sticking to good habits while also focusing on studying.



3. Don’t just focus on studying

This one is something that I tend to struggle with when I am stressed about my exams. You need to take some breaks and get out of your studying mindset! For me, I have to remind myself to get away and spend time being social with other people and doing things that make me happy, and that in turn makes me more productive once I get back to studying. Here is a picture of me taking a study break at a bunny cafe hanging out with some bunnies!




DePaul University student Jeff feeds a bunny at a local bunny cafe in Chicago.

4. Use DePaul resources

DePaul has so many things you can take advantage of for preparing for exams. For one, the library has a ton of resources regarding things like finding study materials and getting a private study space. DePaul also has great resources for tutoring and supplemental instruction in a ton of different subjects. You can check out the websites for the library and different DePaul schools to learn more.



5. Study groups!

I cannot recommend this tip enough. I was able to make some friends in my first few major classes, and now we are a study group and all take similar classes each quarter. This allows us to meet up and talk about our assignments and exams, and we all learn a ton from each other. I also believe that I am in a much better mood when studying if I am going through it with friends.

A photo of a bag of candy on top of a DePaul University student’s keyboard.

6. Pick me ups

If you are studying and you’re just feeling kind of down and not productive, that is the perfect time to get yourself a little pick me up! I personally have a major sweet tooth and I love candy, so as shown in the photo I like to have some candy around while I’m studying to keep me motivated and on track. It’s also nice to have a quick break and relax for a while.



7.Prioritize your mental health

This one is very important. If you are feeling like your studying is taking over your life and is starting to have a negative effect on your mental health, that is a direct sign to take a break and come back later. So many college students struggle with their mental health for a multitude of reasons, so it is so important to be honest with yourself about your mental health and the effect that your studies are having on it.



8. Have perspective

This goes along with that last tip, but having perspective is one of the primary things I focus on with respect to every aspect of my college life. If one test for one class is taking a major toll on your mental health and ruining other important things for you, I would suggest you take a step back and examine the importance of the different things in your life. One test in one class during one year of your college career is not going to make or break your life, so do not allow yourself to overcommit to that test and allow it to take over. It is ok to not get the grade you want, grades are not everything and you will have plenty of chances to make up for it in other areas.



9. Change your study location

The library is a great resource for this tip, but even just moving around in your dorm or apartment can have a huge effect. I tend to stay in my room when I study, so I always have to remind myself to get out and get on campus to utilize the many different areas there. I have found that the student center is my personal favorite place to study. Seeing all of my fellow students working gives me motivation to work myself and puts me in the mindset that I prefer when I am studying.



A photo of a DePaul University student’s computer inside of the student center on the Lincoln Park campus.
A photo of DePaul University student Jeff and two of his friends.

10. Reward yourself!

If you spend a significant amount of time studying and working all for one test, that is no small feat and you deserve a reward. When you get a reward for doing something, it also incentivizes you to do it again, and future you will be grateful for that. If you feel good about the studying you’ve done, go do something fun or hangout with friends!



       I hope these tips will help you out when you are experiencing the midterm blues, and feel free to check out any of the DePaul University websites that have information on all of the academic resources available to students.


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