• Natalie

Running the Marathon that is Midterms | First Year


I don't think there is any other way to accurately describe midterms...they are like running a marathon. Especially when you are writing 6 in 5 days.

I find midterms hard. I think it's the mindset of midterms. I'm not ready to hunker down and study just yet, but they always seem to creep up on me! I want this post to be a source of inspiration for you if you are writing midterms soon, or if you've found it through the panicked Google search "How do I survive midterms?"

  1. Start early

  • About 3-4 weeks before you start writing, set up a study plan.

  • Then spend the next 1.5-2 weeks studying. Really put the effort in and spend your free time with the material. You'll find that if you go through the material once before your test, then again just before your test, that the material usually comes right back and is like an old friend you haven't talked to in some time!

  1. Be strategic

  • Consder what classes you can skip and where you can find extra study time during your day. Can you miss first class and catch a webinar later in the day? Perhaps you can get up an hour early? Try commuting instead of driving. Maybe taking that 40min break in between classes and finding a quite spot to go over a single lecture is what you need. You will be suprised at how many ways you can find extra time in your day to study.*

  1. *Live your life

  • Even though I said above to find extra time in your day to study, don't let studying become the main thing in your life. Remeber to have fun. Spend time with family, go to the movies, walk your dog, go shopping. A 3 hour shopping trip or 30 minute walk with your puppy isn't going to destroy your marks, you might find that it helps to improve your studying when you return!

  • This was KEY for me during midterms. I made time on the weekends to go shopping, get my groceries and even went to a movie! Keeping an open mind for outtings like this left me wanting to study when I came home and made my time studing more effective. If you need to, work these fun outtings into your schedule!

  1. Get through all of the material once before midterm week begins

  • At CCNM we don't have classes during midterm week, which is a GODSEND, but I don't think that I'd be going to those classes anyway. Using the afternoons following exams to review the material (for the next day) a second time was the perfect way to calm my nerves and ensure myself that I knew the material. Also, craming for your next day exam is never fun and adds a lot of unnecessary stress to your already-stressed-out-system

  1. Step away from your friends / group chats / social media

  • I never realized until this year just how distracting friends can be. Especially if you're studying together, friends can be a source of distraction, anxiety and sometimes just utter annoyance. My friends are great, but we all took a step back this week and made an effort to be alone. We didn't really chat before exams and may have had a quick group chat following the exam. This seems to have helped my nerves and anxiety and provided adequate time to study.

  1. Considering asking your ND for an adaptogen

  • Adaptogens are herbs that have a supportive effect on your adrenal system. The adrenal system is responsible for release of hormones into the body, including cortisol, our main "stress" hormone. Taking an adaptogen can help your body to deal with the negative effects of increased cortisol and some even provide a stimulating effect to help with focus and energy. It's important to note that you should speak with an ND before trying an adaptogen, you want to be sure it's right for you!

  1. ​​If your school has a clinic, visit with a Student Intern (especially if they offer alternative medicine)

  • ​​This tip is more for those readers who are in an alternative medicine program, but for those that aren't I have a tip for you too!

  • If your clinic offers alternative or complimentary therapies like accupunture, massage, hydrotherapy, manipulations, cupping therapy or anything of the like, make an effort to go during exams. Not only will it be a welcomed break, but talking about your fear or anxiety with an intern who has been through the same thing is a great way to stay grounded! Additionally, participating in stress reducing treatments can make for a positive weekly outlook!

  • If you are not studying alternative medicine, consider visiting a school in your area that offers alternative medicine programs. Not every city/town will have these schools/programs, but some cities have massage therapy schools which offer reduced rates if you see a student pratitioner. Additionally, you might be able to find a school for Traditional Chinese Medicine that offers accupunture or cupping therapies. If you already have an ND, they might offer these services- so be sure to enquire!

  1. Think about the BIG picture

  • Is one bad midterm mark going to lead to a failing grade for the class? Likely not, so don't get too stressed! Just remeber that midterms and exams are going to happen 4 times a school year- and the more you learn to adapt and go with it, the easier these periods will become!

If these tips helped, share them with your friends!


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