If you are like most graduate students, you dread midterm exam week. Personally, I cannot think of one person I know who actually likes taking exams or gets really excited about studying for long periods of time. I can usually handle the “spaced” out exams where I have one exam per week. The real challenge comes when you are forced to have to study for 2-3 exams in the same week and it almost turns into a game of Russian Roulette deciding which exam you are going to study for.
However, despite all the horror stories that are in circulation, it is possible to survive midterm exam week and move on with your life. Here is a list of things to consider as your exam week approaches as well as things to do during your exam week:
1. PREPARATION. What is that, you ask? Simple. Start sooner rather than later, my fellow graduate students. Trust me, I am the KING of procrastination. But when it comes to exams, I don’t mess around.
2. Find some study buddies. This is always helpful especially when the material is hard to comprehend or difficult to understand. People like helping other people. You would be amazed what can be accomplished when you stick 3-4 heads together.
3. TAKE BREAKS. Get out from underneath your study rock and get some fresh air. Hit the gym for an hour…go for a walk…watch an episode of House Hunters International (or three). The point here is to just go do something “other” than studying. Trust me, your brain needs a break. My break during midterm exam week: writing my blog.
4. SLEEP. I’ve made this mistake before. And so have you. Everyone has done it at least once. It’s called the “all-nighter”. This can be completely counterproductive to your study efforts. Try as much as possible to keep your normal sleep routine. Sacrificing 4 more hours of study time just isn’t worth it in the long run.
5. REWARD YOURSELF. You earned it. Go treat yourself to some ice cream. Maybe you’ll finally take a trip to your favorite restaurant with some friends. It doesn’t matter “what” you do. What matters is that your DO SOMETHING. Get in the habit of rewarding yourself for a job well done.