Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jahanara’s Tips for Surviving Your Midterms

One of the most daunting moments of your first semester in graduate school is taking your first midterm. You worry about the level of your preparation, the format, the difference between undergraduate level papers and graduate level papers, and everything in between.

But what I have realized during the past few weeks is, once I stop psyching myself out, I just have to focus and approach these exams and papers like I would any other assignment.
Some of the things I have found most helpful this midterm season (a lot of which I first came across in undergrad) are:
  • Time management: It’s important to balance studying for exams and writing papers with your regular reading and problem sets. I don't know about you but I'm happy to leave the world of all-nighters behind, and I think time management is the best way to do that.
  • Staying on top of your reading throughout the semester: No one wants to be the person opening a textbook or required reading the night before a paper is due, so be sure to stay up to date on your regular work!
  • Utilizing the services that SAIS has to offer: SAIS has numerous resources available to help students excel. The writing center, library research guides, TAs, and professors are all here to help you do your best. Once you recognize that, everything seems less daunting! 
  • My peers: Depending on your studying style, forming study groups to go over important material can really help with preparation.
  • Taking a break: Read a book, watch an episode of your favorite TV show (if you have the self-control to stop at one!), or just listen to some music and dance around your room (I personally find this to be most effective.) It’s important to remember that even though you're a student and here to do your best, in order to do that you need to take care of yourself. Practice some self-care!
  • Using these steps, I survived my first round of midterms at SAIS. Here's hoping that my grades match my optimism!