That Test-Taking Time of Year

Terps, most of you will likely be hitting Fall midterms right about now, and you have had a taste of the stress that exams can bring. That stress, as many of you know, is often magnified when you have multiple tests within a few short days of each other.

Most of you have also received the typical advice: don’t cram; get sleep; eat good food. Below, we’ve compiled a list of resources that cover all those strategies and more – and we’ve highlighted some of our favorites. We hope that you’ll try some out.

Just remember, all of these coping methods work best when they are (1) not used by themselves, and (2) not used sporadically. Pick a couple that seem “doable,” and try to implement them for a few days – not just the night before your midterms! That said: even a little bit helps. So if you don’t think you can commit to regular sleep every night (for example), at least try to get a good eight hours the nights before your exam.

We wish you the best of luck!


How to Deal with Exam Stress by Seeta Bhardwa

“Even the most intense exam timetables will allow a little time for a study break. […] Spending a little time away from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed the next time […]”

“[G]o out for a walk, or a run, or head to the gym or swimming pool. As well as keeping you healthy, exercise is known to boost your mood and can help to make you more productive […]”

“While it is helpful to discuss topics with fellow students […] try not to compare other peoples’ revision [or work] to your own. Chances are you’re doing just fine, […] [Plus, if they themselves are stressed this can rub off on to you and other people’s stress is not what you need right now.”

“If the stress gets to a point where it is overwhelming, and is affecting your day-to-day life, try and speak to someone about it. […] You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.”

Plus: 10 quick ways to help eliminate exam stress. 

“It’s a well known fact that hot drinks are known to soothe the soul (avoid too much caffeine though!). […] A shower or a bath can help to relieve stress. […] Cook or bake something. Just the thought of having something delicious to eat can bring you joy. […] Keep things in perspective. Yes, exams are important. But you are so much more than your exam results. […] Avoid other stressed people. You know the ones I mean. The ones with cue cards outside of the exam hall, frantically trying to remember key dates and equations. They will do nothing for your stress levels.”

Coping with Test Anxiety & Assessment Stress by Elizabeth Scott

“How do you study ‘smarter’? Make a list of the most important things you need to learn, in order of importance, and hit the items at the top of the list first. (That way, if you run out of time, you’re mostly covered.) […] Make a list of all the work you have to do, estimate how much time each item will take, and compare that with the number of hours you have available […]”

“Because stress can impair your memory, it’s important to stay calm before and during tests. While that’s easier said than done, there are several stress relief techniques that can help you calm down quickly whenever you feel overwhelmed. For example, […]”

How to Handle Midterm Worry and Stress by Chelsea Latorre

“This diagram shows how your performance is related to stress in a bell curve fashion. The good, motivating stress is on the left side of the diagram, where stress is mild to moderate and performance is toward its peak. […] The right side of the bell curve shows how too much stress can decrease performance and essentially lead to physical, psychological, and emotional problems. […] The most important section is the middle zone of this bell curve, called the peak performance zone. In this space, you are a step past the stress you experience daily and can intervene before the stress overwhelms you. […] Make this diagram personal to you – What do you notice about your comfort zone and how can you recognize when you are in it? What are some early signs you spot when you’re edging toward the right side of your bell curve? […]”

“Use relaxation exercises throughout the day to help regulate your body and mind: Practice makes perfect – start practicing ways to calm yourself when you are in the good, helpful zone of stress and worry so that when your stress increases you can use those same strategies to regulate it. [examples, apps, and strategies included in article]”