midterm guide

Your midterm support guide

It’s officially midterm season! While there aren’t specific dates when your midterms start and end, we’re willing to bet that you’ve recently had or are preparing for a few big exams or projects. This guide is chock-full of strategies, tips and helpful ways to unwind every step of the way, from pretest jitters to the best ways to destress after your exams.

Preparing for your midterms

Before your exams and projects are due, you’re hopefully planning on spending some time studying and reviewing test topics. Make the most of your study time by leveling up your study skills and strategies with our help. 

How to prepare 

Before you start reviewing slide decks and your notes, get study strategies from experts — including ASU professors. Having an effective study plan can make all the difference, and help your mindset shift from dreading your study session to efficiently reviewing your materials in a way that works best for you. 

  • Get helpful tips, like the fact that studying after exercising can help make your study session more effective. Exercise gets your blood flowing harder and faster to the brain, which helps you concentrate more on what you’re reading and triggers your memory.

  • Find out which study strategies work best for you with our complete guide to studying part 1 and part 2.

  • Try these five strategies that help make what you’re learning stick in your mind, even after the exam. 

  • For help understanding concepts or an in-depth review of your materials, make an appointment at the tutoring center for expert tips. 

What to listen to

Studies have shown that music produces several positive effects on a person’s body and brain. Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory, which is perfect for a study session. Here are some of our playlist recommendations:


Deep-focus cover art

  • Deep FocusA calm and focused playlist with ambient and post-rock music.

  • Brain Food. Get into the zone with this playlist of hypnotic electronic tunes. 

  • Totally Stress FreeListen to easy, upbeat songs to relieve stress while you study.

  • Lo-Fi Beats. Turn these beats up for a relaxing and focused study session. 

  • Study Music: Enhanced Creativity & Focus. This playlist was recommended by ASU student Taylor Bettis, a junior majoring in forensic psychology.

Videos to watch 

Get engaged with what you’re learning by jumping into a helpful YouTube video that will help you review, give you some virtual company while you study, and get you started with tools to help you collaborate and study with your classmates.

Snack time

  • Hard boiled eggs. Easy to make, easy to store and all that protein will keep you full. And here’s a hack to ensure they are easy to peel.

  • Take a dip into something delicious. Hummus or guacamole with some cut-up veggies, pita or crackers. Chips and salsa (although watch out for the messy drip factor). Peanut butter with apples or pretzels. 

  • Frozen grapes. If you haven’t eaten frozen seedless grapes, you haven’t truly lived. Easy to make, a healthy replacement for sugary snacks and extremely delicious (and addicting!). Rinse the grapes, put them in bunches in Ziploc baggies and freeze for at least five hours to make them fully frozen.

  • Get toasty. There’s avocado toast, peanut butter and banana on toast, Nutella on toast, butter and jam on toast, melted cheese on toast.

Exam day resources

On the day of your midterms, you want to be feeling your absolute best. We’re hoping you got a good night’s rest and are ready to gear up for exams. 

How to prepare 

What to listen to 

Pump up your confidence level and put yourself in a good mood before test time with these upbeat playlists. Feel free to move around a little while you listen or have a full-on dance party to hype yourself up pre-exam. There’s no harm in getting your body moving to stimulate your brain. 


spotify playlist artwork for Mood Booster

  • Confidence BoostTune in to this station for songs that will put you on top of the world. 

  • Coffee Beats. Get a caffeine boost from these electronic songs that will keep you bright and awake all day long. 

  • RiseFor light, positive tunes and uplifting ambient instrumental tracks, this is your playlist. 

  • Mood BoosterLet your mood get lifted by these upbeat, feel-good songs. 

  • Pump Up Music. Rev up your pre-exam mindset with this upbeat, mega-fun playlist. 

Snack time

Make yourself a little something to snack on before your exam to fuel your body and your brain. Going into an exam on an empty stomach is not a good idea — you won’t want to be distracted by hunger while you’re trying to remember what you reviewed yesterday. 

Videos to watch 

Exam day can cause stress and pretest jitters for many students. Try watching one of these videos to help your body relax. These strategies will help you with everything from managing exam-related anxiety to focusing on your breathing and giving your brain a chance to recharge before jumping into test-mode. 

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