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School is back in session and if you haven’t already started studying for midterm exams, you will be very soon. I Trying to cram hundreds of facts in your brain for all 4-8 classes you take can be extremely difficult. These tips will help you keep your stress low and grades high.

  1. Study: It sounds painfully obvious, but the truth is that if you don’t study, you won’t be prepared for exams and you may find yourself stressed. Just a month before exams, while you study your new material, take a look back at the things you learned at the beginning of the year, even if it just means glancing at the notes. This will help jog your memory. Then, the last the two weeks before the exams, go back and read over all of your notes for the year. Skimming even helps as well, because remember—notes are meant to help you remember, not to teach you.

  2. Use online material to help you study: And no, I don’t mean cheat. There are some wonderful sties out there (I prefer Quizlet), that allow you to make virtual flashcards, practice tests that you can create with old homework and quiz questions, and play games that teach you. This can make studying easier, which will then decrease your stress.

  3. Eat Healthy: Eating things like fruit and vegetables have been proved to help with stress. Junk food can actually increase your stress, and as crazy as it sounds, overwhelm you. Healthy foods, including nuts, can help get your brain working, which also makes studying easier. Knock two things out at at once, stress and studying.

  4. Take a break: If you spend every second of every day studying for exams, you’re cramming. Cramming actually does the opposite effect and can cause more harm than good. Sometimes all your brain needs is a little bit of downtime. Do something you enjoy like reading, writing, going out with friends for an hour or two, or spend time with family. This can help take the pressure off of you, even if it’s just for a little while.

  5. Sleep: Make sure that when you’re studying for exams that you’re not trying to pull all-nighters for a week. Sometimes they are necessary, but doing it every day until the exam is going to do harm to your body, make you anxious, and will cause you to do poorly. Get around 7-8 hours of sleep each night and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.

Doing these five things will make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to exams. It doesn’t mean that the exams will be easy or that the pressure will go away completely, but it will decrease it enough for you to do well, if not great. Remember that exams are in your hands, but that a good mental state is always more important.

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