Ways College Students Can Reduce Stress During Midterms

Teacher pointing at something on a laptop to two students

The feeling of being stressed or overwhelmed is a common pain for college students throughout the semester. Midterms are just one of the many obstacles college students face in their journey toward their degrees. With the heavy course load and exam preparation, it’s easy for anyone to get overwhelmed. The following are some tips on how to handle these stressful times not only through midterms but also the rest of the semester.


Plan Out Your Schedule

In the weeks leading up to midterms, professors are constantly reminding students of what's to come. Your midterm preparation, though, should start at the beginning of the semester. Look at your class syllabus, note what courses will have exams, assignments, and projects. Also look at what percentage of your final grade these will amount to. By doing this, you will be able to prioritize your time and create a study schedule that meets your needs. No one knows better than you what course you may need to spend a little more time studying for or which assignments might take up most of your time.

However you decide to organize your schedule, make sure that you aren’t cramming everything into a short period of time. The more you prepare in advance, the more confident you will feel about the weeks leading up to midterms.

If you’re having trouble creating your schedule, make a list of what needs to be completed during midterms week, and then break it down. Taking a further look at requirements for each individual course and figuring out what about them is causing uncertainty can help decide what you may need to spend the most time on. Once this schedule is created, keep a copy of it either in your daily planner, phone, or class notebooks, to have that constant visual reminder.


Talk to Your Professors

There is no better resource before midterms than your professors. They are the ones who have set the standards and requirements of what they expect, so it is best to get clarification from the source. In preparation for the big week, look through the course syllabus and examine the assignment checklist, study guides, and any other valuable information that may have been shared. Note what has come off as confusing or needs more clarification and bring it up to your professor privately before or after the next class. If you aren’t comfortable asking in class, there are always other ways to reach out to your professor. Shoot them an email or visit them during their office hours. The most important part is ensuring that any questions raised are addressed as early as possible, so you have time for your midterm prep.


Take Care of Your Needs

During the long hours of studying, cranking out papers, and doing any group work and other strenuous work that your professor may have given, it’s very easy to forget about your personal needs. On top of dealing with coursework, there is the need to address the demands of your personal life.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that you don’t need to complete everything all at once. If you’ve followed the above advice, and have created a schedule, then you are more than capable of taking intermittent breaks between assignments and studying. Feeling hungry? Grab your favorite snack. Tired? Schedule time for a quick nap.

Pushing yourself to the limit will put you on the path to burning out, which will not help you complete your work faster. If you feel that you are mentally done for the day, take a break and do something that you like to do, even if it’s as simple as taking a walk. Giving your body and brain the chance to disconnect from the heavy workload will help you in the long run. Sometimes you just need to return to your work with a refreshed mind.


Seek Additional Support

If you’re struggling, you may find reassurance in the fact that there are thousands of students going through the same pains and struggles as you, including your peers. The good news is there are resources available to help.

If you are confused about what to do regarding a course, ask around in your class and compose a study group. Creating a study group not only allows everyone to help one another, but it is also composed of students who are sharing similar experiences.

If you’re struggling in other ways, use your campus resources. Students often don’t take advantage of all the helpful services that are included in their tuition. These services are beneficial and provided to everyone whether you live on campus or commute. You likely have access to academic support, which often includes peer tutors who are knowledgeable about the course and can offer advice on how to tackle the class or a particular concept. Your campus also likely has health and wellness services like counseling that supply support to those students who are concerned about their well-being. Check out your school's website or speak to your advisor to learn more about these services and how to take advantage of them.

It’s easy to feel like you’re losing your mind once midterms come around. Whether you’re looking for tips in preparation of exam time or are currently experiencing midterm week and are searching for motivation, we hope these tips will help you focus in and do your best.

For more tips for college students, visit our blog.

Become a Member

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.