How To Study

Jasreen Gupta | New University

The waning weeks of October grace UC Irvine’s campus with all things autumn and lovely: the emergence of  cozy sweaters, the glorious return of boots, pumpkin spice lattes, excited exchanges of Halloween plans, glimmers of the approaching cold weather and even the occasional crisp autumn leaf; but there is a dark side to this time of year − a lingering feeling of impending doom that comes in the form of the midterm.

Week 5 is upon us, and UCI is deep in the throes of midterm season.

However, we need not live in a state of panic. Applying method to the madness that is midterm week can save you the unnecessary stress headache. Here are a few suggestions for survival:

1. Avoid Cramming

Perhaps the hardest of midterm mantras to follow, but by far the most beneficial to your overall well-being. Start studying early (a whole week, even). I’m sure you wish you had thought of this earlier. Your days will be exceedingly brighter, and this is before you take into account that  cramming for a test leads to other cramming: cramming fast food, cramming cupcakes, cramming caffeine and ultimately, cramming a whole lot of stress down your throat.

2. Cram Wisely (If Avoiding Cramming Didn’t Work Out So Well)

If you are past the point of no return in terms of procrastinating and the fate of  your GPA hangs in the balance, study wisely. First, streamline your study materials and target your studying on the most important material. Some kind  professors create this amazing thing called a study guide. Dig it out of the back stock of papers and trash you have lying around and get cracking. Don’t try to reread every assignment for the class (or read for the first time); you will burn out and the information you are so desperately trying to shove into your swelling brain will just leak out of your ears and into the abyss of all things forgotten.

3. Avoid the Crash and Burn

For all of your studying ventures, especially those of the cramming variety, make sure to avoid the fiery burnout that follows the jittery glory of caffeine-fueled work sessions. Chugging three Monsters always seems like a great idea until the inevitable crash sends you through the floor. If you are graced with the precious commodity of time, get some sleep. You can even freestyle it and take a nap whenever you can sneak one in (I would avoid taking your catnap during the midterm). Realistically, midterm season often cancels out any semblance of a normal sleep schedule, so when you start jonesing for a pick-me-up, make smart choices. Avoid things in the neighborhood of Triple Shot Espresso and reach for a more sustainable form of energy. Green teas or a Jamba Juice infused with Ginseng will do the trick; apples and other fruits serve as natural energizers; and when all else fails, 5 Hour Energy at least promises “no crash!” A good-old fashioned jog has a similar effect. Endorphins for the win!

4. Step Away from the Social Media

We’ve all logged on to Facebook to check who went to that thing with that guy that one weekend that those friends told you about, and suddenly realized that two hours of life have been inexplicably lost scrolling through a mutual friend’s photo album of cupcakes they make in their free time. Facebook is perhaps your worst enemy in the battle of studying. For all intensive purposes, pretend Facebook doesn’t exist for a while (or simply temporarily deactivate it). A final note on this subject: do not, under any circumstance, make the seemingly harmless, “Wow, I am so totally fucked for this midterm” post. While it seems innocuous, these posts can only result in a few things − sympathy comments and the like (“Dude, me too!”) − all of which will drag you into the depths of social media distraction. Don’t do it. This sort of thing makes you 150 percent more likely to proclaim it a YOLO status situation and go watch “Breaking Bad” instead.


Finally, remember that you cannot actually study through osmosis. Stop carrying your book around and hoping to spontaneously absorb knowledge through your fingertips or face. Also, remember to breathe. Happy studying, UCI!