Having Trouble Preparing for Exams? Try these Tips!

Exam Preparation

As exams are approaching, some may be starting to feel the anxiety and nervousness starting to kick in. Exams are stressful, but there are ways to combat these undesirable feelings and to make your preparation as stress-free as possible.

Time and space management

Have you ever thought that you had weeks before the exam, but took a glance at the calendar one day and realized that the exam was just around the corner? Don’t leave everything till the last minute because cramming will only create anxiety which will hinder your ability to retain information.

Before the exam, take note of important dates and make a schedule of all the subjects you need to review. Next, figure out how many days you have until the exam and allocate your time accordingly for each subject. If you think you need to pay more attention to a certain subject, give that subject priority by making more time to review and ask questions if needed.

Pick a suitable study place that is free of distraction and clutter. You want to be as organized as possible so you don’t waste time finding that highlighter or ruler among the many textbooks and loose-leaf paper!

Another thing to try doing is alternating your study spots. It has been reported that alternating between two different rooms can improve a person’s retention, based on the fact that the brain is able to make an association with different backgrounds and with what is being studied.

How to revise

Everyone has their method of studying and one method may be more effective than another.

Typical study aids include:

1) Visual aids: these include pictures or diagrams that help explain a concept

2) Flashcards: are useful for recalling information especially key terms, definitions, and vocabulary

3) Mind maps: review what you know by linking ideas to a central concept

4) Partnering with a study buddy or creating a study group: try to explain a concept or answer to your friend or group to see if you really know what you have learned. Not only can you learn from others, but you can also expand your understanding of a topic.

Deal with your stress

Studying is important, but learn to relax in between so you avoid having a nervous breakdown.

1) Take regular and productive breaks: It is recommended to take a break after 50-90 minutes of studying. Studying for an extensive period of time with no breaks in between is actually counterproductive and can negatively affect brain function and concentration. Go take a short walk, grab a drink, or listen to a few songs.

2)Snack on brain food: We may be inclined to snack on junk food while studying, but these foods will rather affect our energy levels and focus. Snack on healthy and nutritious food for the brain such as nuts, fruits (like blueberries), or yoghurt.

3)Stay hydrated: Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day during revision and the exam.

Talk with friends and family: Don’t handle your stress alone, talk about what is frustrating you or what you’re worried about with your friends and family.

If you’ve regularly reviewed your work you won’t have to cram the night before, so get a good night’s sleep before the exam and remember to have a hearty breakfast the following morning so you can have enough fuel to power your brain during the exam.

Keep calm and believe you can do it!


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