My Exam Survival Guide
It’s that time of year, exam time! And you know what that means, no sleep, and stress through the roof! Well, over the years I’ve come up with some pretty solid organizational habits that help me keep my ISUs, assignments and exams in order through these hectic weeks, and they might just help you as well.
1. Get a paper planner! I can’t stress this enough, my planners have literally saved my life! (Maybe not “literally” but you get the point..). I mean, your phone calendar is great and all, but something about writing your to-do’s down and visually seeing the month laid out before you in your own handwriting solidifies your goals into your mind. Write out all your exams and tests, when you are going to study for them, and any prior commitments, such as work, that you will have to plan academic time around.
2. Go to sleep! I mean it. You literally cannot function when you are overtired, and coffee can only do so much. I know when you have a lot to do, sleeping can feel like such a waste of time, but it’s so important to get at least some amount of proper sleep at night. Aim for 7-8 hours, but even if you only get 5-6 that’s okay too, baby steps.
3. Do not try to cram. Study a little bit at a time, usually I like to start studying the exam material at least 2 weeks before the date of the actual exam, that way I never feel rushed. Also, another tip is to study in intervals, I like to do 20 minutes of work, and then 5 minutes of free time (scrolling through Instagram, watching YouTube videos, etc). Having a clear timeline makes it easier to get started, and stay productive.
4. Make a ton of flashcards. For memorization subjects, like english and history, remembering seemingly random facts is key to success. A good way to make sure those useless tidbits of information are locked into your brain for all of eternity are by writing down the questions and answers you must remember on flashcards. The great thing about flashcards is that you can study with them anywhere, on the bus, at a restaurant, on the toilet, literally wherever and whenever you want! You can also use a flashcard app, such as Quizlet, which also has little tests and match up games if straight up question and answer studying bores you, but I find it easier to memorize answers when I write them down by hand.
5. Do not start calculating percentages and passing marks and all that stuff! I can promise you that it does not help to know what mark you need to get on the exam to go from a 70 to and 75, it will only freak you out and put unwanted pressure on you. Instead, just focus on doing your best. If you must use numbers to motivate yourself, try switching your mindset from “I need to get at least 76% on this exam or I won’t get above an 75 in this course” to “I want to get above 76% on this exam to raise my mark, but I will be satisfied as long as I know I studied hard and tried my best”. At the end of the day, if you payed attention in class and did all your exam review, it is hard to not get above 80%.
I hope these tips help you out this exam season, and I wish you the best of luck, I know you’ll do great! XOXO Maggie