It’s almost that time again: midterm season! Now that we’ve reached the midpoint of the semester, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to tackle upcoming exams, assignments and everything else coming your way during the second half of classes. Not sure exactly how to do that? No worries — I’ve compiled a list of the most important steps to take before midterms so you don’t have to.

Make a schedule.

First thing’s first—you should go through your syllabi and identify all of those midterm exam and assignment dates. Even if some are a couple weeks away, start carving study time out of your schedule now. Dedicating an hour or less each day to studying will help you retain the course information more easily and therefore feel better prepared for your exam. You’ll also feel a lot less stressed when it’s midterm week because you won’t have to cram everything into those last few days. If you’re having trouble studying alone, the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) offers group tutoring sessions throughout the semester, even when it’s not an exam week.

Identify the best study techniques for you.

Sometimes the hardest part of studying is figuring out how in the world you’re going to get started. Here’s a couple examples to choose from:

  • If you’re studying for a math class, try completing practice problems without looking at your notes while you answer them.
  • If the professor has given you a study guide, try making your own test questions.
  • Leave the completed practice test alone for a day or two, then go back and time yourself taking it. (This way you’ve given yourself a little time to forget those answers.)

Gather your professors’ feedback so far.

Look back at your prior assessments. Try to identify what was difficult for you in those assignments and take note of what you can improve on for the midterm. If you know there’s a specific topic you just can’t seem to grasp, raise a question about it during your next lecture. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up during class, make a plan to visit your professor or TA during office hours. Asking questions early on will help you use your study time more efficiently.

Get all of your test-taking materials in order.

Take this time to get all of the gear you need ready for test day. Make sure you’ve got new batteries in your calculator, double-check that your computer is updated and won’t randomly shut down mid-exam, and refill your pen or pencil supply if you’re taking your assessments in-person. If you’ve had technology problems throughout the semester, now’s the time to stop putting off that visit to the ITS Service Center—make an in-person appointment, call them at 315.443.2677, or send an email at

Check in with yourself!

It’s normal to feel stressed going into midterms, but it’s important not to let that stress overwhelm you. Remember to take regular breaks as you study and be patient with yourself if things start to feel difficult. If you need tips on how to manage exam anxiety or curb procrastination, check out the Barnes Center and CLASS’s new Mindfulness Workshops. The Barnes Center also has many other resources, both virtual and in-person, to encourage students to be active and mindful. You can pick and choose the resources that best help you practice self-care.

If you were feeling a bit lost on what you should do now that we’re approaching midterms, hopefully this checklist has helped you figure it out. Giving each of these steps a try will certainly place you in the best position to be successful this semester and take the rest of your coursework in stride. And remember that in spite of this year’s challenges, you’ve made it to this moment. Congratulations, and let’s keep pushing forward, Orange Nation!

Written by Dakota Chambers ’22, College of Arts and Sciences