Let’s be honest: exam period is probably the worst thing about school. After the exciting times in September of making new friends, joining new clubs and going out every Friday night, you have to buckle down, kiss your social life goodbye for a few days and get into intense study mode. But take the big test doesn’t have to be completely stressful. There are practical and helpful ways to get you prepared for your exams and it won’t require you to pull an all-nighter.
1. Layout and plan a schedule at least 3 weeks in advance and keep track of it
The great thing (and maybe not great thing for some of you) is that teachers and professors often give out a syllabus in the beginning of the semester with the proposed due dates and deadlines for assignments, midterms and exams. This is your key to starting your exam schedule. Although dates and times may change, make sure to keep track of all of your exams on a calendar that you view frequently. This can be a calendar on your computer, on your iPhone or an old-fashioned hanging wall calendar, whatever your choice is make sure to write down when and where your exam is taking place, the time and any other important information – and do it now! The earlier you have it written down and remembered, the easier you’ll be able to stay on track of everything.
2. Take advantage of program focused study groups and library times
Really this should say take advantage of all your school resources, but specifically we want to focus on the academic resources rather than the social resources. Yes, its great that you’re involved in a social club or activity or team but you should also be in the know when it comes to the different organized study groups for your program. Find out, either through your teacher or the program’s Facebook group on the times and dates they plan on holding a study session. And if one hasn’t been planned yet, start your own by inviting two to five people from your class and arranging your own little study session. If you prefer to study alone, make sure it’s in a quiet, brightly lit atmosphere such as your school library. Take advantage of your extended campus library hours and private study rooms. But book a room ahead of time because they fill up fast!
3. Eat a balanced diet the week before and of the exam
You know that saying that ˜a healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day?’ Well it’s completely true and more so for college, university and even high school students when they’re preparing for a big exam. You should already be eating a healthy diet but if your not start way before the week of the exams. Make sure to eat foods that have protein and iron and try and get food that isn’t full of too much sugar or makes you feel tired. You can always trust fruits, vegetables, grains and meat as your go to food guides to give you the fuel you need during this stressful and tiring time.
4. If you’re stressed or worried about your grades, talk to someone who will listen and someone you trust
We all know that exam period is super stressful, but we don’t have to bottle up that stress. If you find that you get sidetracked and stressed out during exam time then you need to reach out and talk to somebody. It doesn’t matter who it is- your mom, your sister, your school mentor “ just talk to someone you trust, tell them how you feel and let it all pour it. You can’t expect anyone to know what you’re going through or to help you if you don’t tell someone. The first step in de-stressing to lay all your feelings out on the table. If you’re stressing about your grades or the pressure of your program, still talk to someone you trust, but also visit your campus’ academic counselor or your program coordinator and let them know your situation and ask them for support. You would be surprise how helpful people are if you just let them know what’s going on.
5. Keep in constant communication with your professors, teachers and program directors “ even if you’re not in trouble
A great way to be beat the constant pressures of school is to talk with those in charge on a daily or weekly basis or whenever you have a question. Usually at the post-secondary level, teachers and professors are much more open to talking with you about your progress, how you like the program and giving you advice on how to achieve in the program. Take this advice! Don’t just reach out to your instructor when you failed the midterm and now you want the answer hints to the final exam. The instructor will know exactly what you’re doing and it still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll pass. Instead start asking questions now and building relationships that way you stay in the know and your teacher also knows how serious you are about succeeding.
6. Take a break when needed
Let’s face it “ we’re not superheroes that have the ability to easily memorize the entire periodical table in one day or to fully understand all of the themes in Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Often scenarios like these make us more frustrated and make us study harder, not smarter. If this is how you feel while studying for an exam, you need to stop, breathe and take a break. Reading the same paragraph or sentence over and over won’t make it stick. Instead go for a walk, meet a friend at Starbucks or do what makes your happy for a little while. Of course, you’ll have to return to your studying but when you do you’ll feel refreshed, energized and ready to continue studying.