How to Survive Midterms: An Advice Guide

Every year, midterms sneak up on students. It’s not until exams, projects and essays pile up into one big due date that we all begin to realize —oh, riiiight— it’s the midpoint of the semester.

And all the same, some students somewhere won’t be prepared, but since you’re reading this, there’s a chance that it won’t be you. Still thinking about cranking up the coffee pot or scheduling a few all-nighters? Rule number one: be nice to your mind and body this midterm season (more on that later).

Midterms are no joke. Daily assignments require some sort of function on your part as a student, but as the days run closer to the due dates, everything can get overwhelming. Good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way ever again. With a few tricks and rules, you’ll survive and thrive through midterms.

Hiding out in the library for a few hours is a good option

Trying to cram with 500 pages of notes, books and doodles never works out how we want it to, but it’s important to study in an environment with little to no distractions. While studying at home or in the dorms may sound enticing, there are many more ways that your attention could slip away from academics into something else. Watching TV or lying in bed could definitely be enough to push back an essay submission or skip a few crucial study hours.

Take breaks while studying

It’s so important for students to take a break while studying. Yes, the mind is a monster, almost machine-like, but it can easily get overloaded. Use the 55:5 rule. Every hour that you study, take five minutes to yourself. Whether that’s to stretch your legs, grab a snack or use the bathroom, take those few minutes as a time to mini-reward yourself for the process. Just don’t get too distracted (a.k.a scroll through social media for hours) and set a reminder to get back to work.

Stop studying. Go to sleep, seriously

It may be obvious that you need a good night’s rest in order to perform at your best, but why does nobody seem to listen? Being busy with classes, work, extracurricular commitments or other activities is expected, but at the end of that day, there are very few people who are going to want to sit down and study after it all. Sure, you could, but how much information will you really retain? It’s important to know your limits. Study for as long as you can, but if you nod off, it’s time to say goodnight.

Plan your schedule accordingly

If you don’t have an agenda, your next step after reading this should be to go purchase or download one. It’s revolutionary. Planning your days out helps with the organization of your priorities in life. It can involve all of your tasks throughout the week and will help you to see the times you have left after your mandatory responsibilities or commitments. Time block your schedule with those first. Then, block out times for the following: study, breaks, sleep. Seeing everything together can be a bit dizzying, but adopting a routine of living by your time blocks will relieve a lot of stress throughout the week.

Drink lots of water, eat your veggies, treat yourself

Taking care of your body is essential. Eat mindfully with regards to energy boosters, and remember that everything is better in moderation. Don’t overdo it with the caffeine or “quick shots of energy.” They’ll most likely do more harm than good by making you uncomfortably anxious or worse– even more tired. We’ve always been told to drinks lots of water, eat a balanced dinner, and go to bed early the night before an exam. Yet, we always forget to mention how good it feels to indulge in our favorite sweets or activities. Whatever it is that makes everything feel right in the world, stock up. It’s a time for healthy remedies, yet healthy rewarding as well.

Take advantage of on-campus resources

We all pay for them anyway. It can’t be said enough how much students miss opportunities for improvement because they are too embarrassed or pessimistic about going to an on-campus resource. It could mean the difference between a C and an A, so don’t fall into a silly trend and go discover what your campus has to offer. Each and every campus has a library to study at equipped with books, computers, printers, staplers and just about every other essential item needed to prepare an assignment. Here are a few notable resources on various Georgia State campuses:

Atlanta Campus

Study rooms

On every floor there are glass-paneled rooms that block out the rumble of the rest of the library. These study rooms are available to rent out (free of charge) for an allotted time so that students can have a moment in peace outside the rustling of papers and clicking of pens heard echoing in the community areas. There are also whiteboards for students to use to draw out a really elaborate problem or showcase a set of questions to peers. Study rooms are a part of our fees, so set aside a time to hide out in one and watch your to-do list dwindle.

The Writing Studio

Every piece of writing has a place here in the studio. Worried about grammar or flow? This is the place to get your essay proofread or analyzed. To meet with a tutor from the Writing Studio online, you must set up an account on the website. Then you can schedule an in-person appointment or an “Online Video/WriteChats.” On the online side, students can upload documents, receive feedback and then save the entire conversation to their computers.

The Writing Studio is located in room 2420 of the 25 Park Place Building (across from Woodruff Park).

Writing Studio Hours Fall 2017:
Monday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Georgia State Perimeter College Native Plant Botanical Garden

Because this guide isn’t just focused on the importance of preparing for strenuous academics, it’s good to know where you can go to escape it for a while. Visit the garden on the Decatur campus to clear your mind and get lost in the scenery. There are over 4,000 species of native, rare and endangered plants living in the two main garden areas – the Native Plant Botanical Garden and the Ferns of the World. Many trails wind through the shade gardens. The gardens have bog plants, native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns and perennial plants. Find your zen; stop and smell the flowers.

Georgia State University’s Library Hours

Atlanta Campus 7 a.m. – 2 a.m.

(Public Access begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:15 p.m.)
CURVE 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Special Collections & Archives 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Alpharetta Campus 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Clarkston Campus 7:45 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Decatur Campus 7:45 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Dunwoody Campus 7:45 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Newton Campus 7:45 a.m. – 9 p.m.