By: Mitali Chaudhary

It’s time for sweatpants, bruised-looking under-eyes, and the I-just-woke-up hair: it’s midterm season. Luckily, exactly 95.87% of the stress can be avoided this year by these helpful DON’Ts for the midterms.

1. Start watching another season of whatever TV show you enjoy binging on.

There’s no use in rationalizing the hours you plan to spend on Netflix, or convincing yourself of the reason you need to watch one more episode. You know it in your bones that there’s no way you’re stopping at “one more episode”.

2. Take five-minute Facebook/Tumblr/Reddit breaks.

They’re never five minutes long – the range is more like one to two hours – and you know it. It’s no use even getting on those sites in the first place because they suck you in. No one enjoys that soul-crushing post-surfing oh-my-god-I-wasted-so-much-time-on-the-internet guilt either but we all still do it. Because this activity is so addicting, it’s better not to engage in it in the first place, since we clearly get transported into another dimension where time always breaks the speed limit.

3. Put yourself through six-hour, no-break study blitzes.

Especially the night before the midterm. Although it may seem like a good idea when it first crosses your panic-stricken brain, it’s an extremely counter-productive practice. On average, the human brain can focus on a single task for no more than a stretch of 45 minutes. Taking short, frequent breaks while studying gives the brain some time to absorb what it just learned and gets it ready for another informational onslaught.

4. Become a total hermit.

Sitting in your room all day, only coming out to forage for food, is tiresome. We’re on the edge of Cootes Paradise! Taking short walks and getting some exercise into your schedule improves concentration, gets the heart pumping, and is a good way to spend a study break. It’s also a nice change of scenery—fall is beautiful at McMaster and it’s worth venturing out for before winter comes our way.

5. Procrastinate.

Okay that sounds like the most “duh” DON’T, but avoiding it is the best way to succeed during any time of the year. Dividing your hours up into study and break time as well as time to eat and sleep (good nights of sleep are key!) will help you focus on one thing at a time and keep you on track. Honestly, the hardest part about this is making a realistic schedule—you just have to stick to it afterwards, which is pure willpower. The feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing all your tasks in a day is worth it, I promise.

And with these five tips, as well as some smart studying, you’ll be able to breeze past midterm season with ease to face the more dreaded finals. You’re welcome.

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