Dos and Don'ts for the Night Before Midterms

By Kaitlin Hurtado on March 7, 2018

If there’s a word that’s more dreaded than “finals” for college students, it’s going to be “midterms.” Midterms come up a lot earlier than many expect, it seems like you’ve barely had enough time to get into the groove of a new term’s schedule when your professor starts reminded you of a looming midterm.

Even when you do have plenty of time to prepare for a midterm, you may find yourself struggling to figure out where to start or how to deal with stress the night before a midterm. In order to make the night of your midterm as productive and peaceful as possible, here are some dos and don’ts to consider for the night before your next midterm.

girl on laptop, girl studying,

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Do make a study plan

If past you was looking out for future you, you may already have a study plan when it comes to being prepared for midterms. In an ideal situation, you would already be completely caught up on readings and already have a full study guide prepared on the night before your midterm. However, for many students, it is more realistic to be a few readings behind the night before a midterm, especially when you are juggling midterms for other classes, extracurriculars, and other activities going on in your personal life.

When you only have a night for to study for a midterm, you have a limited amount of time to prepare for it and it’s important to make use of every minute possible. In order to maximize the limited amount of time you do have, make sure to create an efficient study plan before going into the night. Winging it makes it easier to take a nap or take too long of a break when you start losing motivation to study.

Creating a study plan will allow you to look at what you already know and what you still need to learn. Once you figure out the topics or concepts you’ve been struggling with, allocate time to properly study for each one – give more time to the more difficult sections and less time on things you just want to glance over. Make sure to plan breaks, as breaks with a time limit created from a study plan will help you keep track on your night of studying.

Do cut out distractions 

When coming into the night before your midterms, you have a strict deadline that limits the amount of time you have to study. One of the worst things you can do is surround yourself with distractions that will keep you from having a productive night. Start with picking a space that you can study in for an extended amount of time.

If you know that studying in your apartment is out of the question, consider going out for your night of studying. Places like a campus library or study lounge help you ensure that distractions are cut out as there’s not much else to do when you are in a silent area with no bed and other distractions that your apartment could offer. If you prefer to study in a space with background noise, pick a coffee shop where you can be productive and have the perk of a coffee pick-me-up steps away.

If you prefer to stay in the comfort of your own living space and not have to worry about getting kicked out at closing, create a study space for the night at your own place. Unplug your TV and clear off your desk of everything but the school work necessary for your night of studying. If even looking at your bed is enough to keep you from studying for midterms, attempt to study in your living room (but be aware that your roommates can also be distracting).

Don’t try to pull an all-nighter (but if you have to, do it right

The thought of a looming midterm may be overwhelming when you think of how much you already know (or don’t know), but you definitely don’t want to psyche yourself out of studying the night before a midterm. If you have one night to study, make the most of it. Don’t think that just because you have one night you have to stay up for all of it to be productive. Sometimes the most productive option is going to have you studying until midnight and then getting a full night’s rest to prepare for your midterm.

However, sometimes sleeping through the night after a few hours of studying won’t cut it and you really might have to pull an all-nighter. If you are going to be pulling an all-nighter, make sure that you are doing an all-nighter the right way – make use of the time that you could have been sleeping.

Make a study plan to keep you on track all night and remember to take much-needed breaks. Try recruiting a friend that will help keep you on track, especially when it comes to calling you out on taking too long of a break or catching you browsing a website unrelated to your midterm.

The night before a midterm can seem like one of the most stressful times when you are facing a night of studying, but just know that it is one night and that if you think you’ve made use of the time given to you — you’ll be fine and prepared for your next midterm.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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