Exam season is here and it’s the time of the year students dread most. We all have to do exams and tackling them in a smart way will ease your stress. There are certain approaches you can take to ensure that you are in control of exams and not the other way around. Being prepared is key and by just staying one step ahead at all times you will be amazed at how much more positive you will be feeling when it comes to exam time.
The most important thing to do before exams is to get yourself organised. Gather all your notes into one place or one folder. Once you have your notes organised you can study in a straight forward way. Keep track of the dates of your exams and dates which you want to have certain topics revised before. At this point in the semester students are focusing on both exams and assignments so therefore make sure to allocate specific days to various work. Also, putting together a schedule or timetable is vital for getting work done effectively. Write lists each week or at the beginning of every day and check things off as you complete them. This way you can see yourself making progress and will be more motivated. Professor Patrick Ryan, Head of Psychology at the University of Limerick says, "The plan should be realistic and achievable - it should stretch you but not stress you."
Change Up Your Study:
Sitting at a desk all day reading textbooks suits some people as a way of studying but most students need to change up the ways in which they study. Whether its saying your notes out loud and recording yourself, making flashcards, putting up posters around your room or studying with friends in groups. This makes you feel like you are getting more work done and beats the boredom of just sitting down reading notes yourself day after day.
Get An Exam Technique:
While studying try to work out an exam technique. Do practice questions and look at how you would approach topics in an exam situation. Many people find drawing mind maps useful if visual learning suits you. Time yourself when doing practice questions to see which topics you need to spend more time revising. Professor Ryan recommends, “Don’t just copy the way others study but try to work out what way works best for you and stay in a good routine.”
Avoiding procrastination is easier said than done. It’s normal to procrastinate a little however too much can just add to your stress. Manage your time well and set realistic goals, while also taking breaks and giving yourself rewards. If you find yourself sitting down for long periods of time but getting little if any work done, get up and go for a walk, take a break and then come back and re focus. Remember exams only last for a few days and when they are finished you can procrastinate to your heart's content.
Exercise And Eat Well:
Foods rich in vitamins and proteins such as leafy vegetables and fruit are essential. Nutrients help keep your brain staying sharp and eating good foods make you feel a lot better about yourself. While studying your brain needs healthy fuel and hydration to get you through the stressful time. Exercise is also extremely important to keep you calm and focused, even if it is just a brisk 10 minute walk you are doing. "Exercise releases the happy hormones like serotonin, in the brain and these help you de-stress and build resilience in the face of a challenge”, says Professor Ryan.