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Emma Catranis / Gavel Media

A Comprehensive Guide to De-stressing Amid Midterm Season

With midterms around the corner, stress levels have risen immensely across campus. Unlike finals week, during which students’ sole obligation is to prepare for exams, midterms occur in the midst of the semester. Thus, students must prepare for midterms while still attending classes and participating in extracurricular activities. Here is The Gavel's comprehensive guide to maintaining a somewhat stress-free attitude during midterms:

Create a study schedule and stick with it

Properly schedule when you plan on studying for each topic that is covered on the midterms by taking each topic at a time. Make the schedule realistic. Try to study the most important topics first so that you have enough time to fully understand them. Also try to study the more challenging topics before the easier ones so that you can get the hardest part of studying out of the way.

Turn off your phone when you study

Turning off your phone will allow for productive studying. Cal Newport, author of "How to Become A Straight-A Student," explains the difference between “pseudo-working” and productive working. Pseudo workers spend countless hours in the library studying unproductively. They are easily distracted by their phones and by other people. As a result, they spend excessive amounts of times completing minor tasks. Productive workers, on the other hand, are entirely focused during the time they allot to studying. Try to be a productive worker rather than a pseudo-worker when you study. You’ll be thankful for having used your study hours efficiently.

Sleep well in the days leading up to your exam

Try to get eight hours or more of sleep in the days leading up to your exam. More than that, try to get in the routine of going to sleep around or before midnight. Dr. Matt Walker from UC Berkeley explains that the time at which you sleep is a fundamental factor in determining the quality of your sleep: “Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.” 


Try to take thirty minutes a day to exercise. Even if exercising doesn’t seem like a top priority considering all the studying you have to do, you’d be surprised how much stress it can relieve. When you workout, your body releases endorphins that fuel you with energy and lift your spirits. After a good workout, you’ll be able to return to studying with a stress-free mindset.


Yoga is a great way to relax your body and mind. Classes are offered almost everyday at the plex. Throughout the class, the instructor guides you to focus on nothing but your breathing. You quickly de-stress as you forget about life’s worries and become engrossed in the moment.

Schedule time for study breaks

Whether it’s hanging out with your friends, spending time alone, or watching Netflix, do something you enjoy during your study break.

Study somewhere new 

There are a myriad of quaint coffee shops in the neighborhoods surrounding BC, such as in Coolidge Corner, where you can do work and grab a bite to eat simultaneously. Studying at a new location will add a bit of an adventure to your mundane studying routine, as you’ll be able to discover the quirks of your new study location. A study location like a coffee shop will probably also be less stressful than a library filled with college students who are also studying for midterms. If you don’t have time to leave campus, at least try to study at a spot on campus that you don’t typically frequent.

Have a positive mindset going into the exam

Even if you have studied every topic that will be covered on your midterm multiple times, you may still feel unprepared. It is important to go into the test with a positive mindset, confident that you have the ability to succeed. This confidence will help give you the energy, stamina, and focus needed to succeed on your test.

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