Preparing for Exams and Mid-Terms
Stress – that’s often the first word that comes to mind when students think about studying for finals, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of steps you can take to cut back on the stress and anxiety you inevitably feel at test time. Try some of the suggestions below. They should help you feel more prepared and confident going into the exam.
1. Accept the fact that you have to study. There is no easy way out. Sleeping with a text book under your head will not make you magically absorb all of the information in the book you never read. You just need to realize you HAVE to do some work.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying. Cramming will make you more stressed and you won’t be able to remember as much info.
3. If you are an overly organized person, put your skills to good use. Create a chart to document when, where and for how long you will study each subject. For example: Monday, 6-8 p.m., campus library, History. This will ensure you have enough time to adequately prepare.
4. If you are a less rigid kind of person make flashcards and recite them while doing household chores, brushing your teeth, riding the bus to and from school, and between commercials while you’re watching the latest episode of The Voice.
5. Don’t plan to study somewhere super comfy like in bed, wrapped up in a warm furry blanket, surrounded by twenty fluffy pillows. Chances are you will end up doing more napping then studying. Do however find a comfortable chair and work space large enough for all your text books (and snacks) with good lighting. It’ll make life a whole lot easier.
6. Turn your phone off or, at the very least, set it to vibrate and only check it every 45 minutes (and then only stay on it for 10 minutes). Phones, tablets, iPods, etc. are great, but are very distracting. Contrary to popular belief, being a Candy Crush savant will not help you when it comes to school work.
7. Before you start studying, write down everything you know about the subject. That way you’ll have a better grip on what you still need to know and what you don’t need to focus as much time on.
8. Study with friends – but actually study. Don’t just sit around and chat. Your friends can be a great resource. If they were in the same class as you chances are they may remember stuff you don’t.
9. Read through all your class notes. If you don’t understand a definition or a particular theory, try looking it up online. If you have time, ask your teacher for help.
10. Take breaks, get exercise, sleep well and eat well. It’s not just studying the material that’s important. Your body needs proper exercise, sleep and nourishment to function at its peak.
11. Know the material in your own words. This will ensure you actually understand it and haven’t just memorized a text book. It will also increase your confidence and your ability to answer any question thrown at you about the subject.
12. Make sure you know where and when the exam is and how long it will take you to get there. Try to arrive about 30 minutes early, but don’t do any more studying for about 15 minutes before the exam. This will give you time to calm yourself and get acclimated with your surroundings. Scope out a good seat; get out all your necessary supplies (water, pens, pencils, calculators, scrap paper, etc.). If you have a favorite song that calms or relaxes you, listen to it on your iPod. Music often has a calming and soothing affect and can help put you in just the right mind set before you begin writing the exam.
The important thing in avoiding exam stress is to be prepared. You may still be a little nervous, but you will have the knowledge and confidence to succeed.