I hate exams. They are stressful, exhausting, challenging, and tedious (and I could add many words to this list). But even though there are many other things I would rather be doing, they are a part of the life of a student. Here are a few things that make my studying less stressful and more productive.
1. Make a schedule: There’s always a lot of content to sift through, so making a schedule for the day is helpful to decide when I am studying for which subject and how much I want to do at once. Breaking things up into smaller sections makes them feel more manageable.
2. Eat healthy snacks: It’s important to make sure that you are eating well so that you have enough energy to focus. Even though it’s tempting to drink a lot of coffee, if you drink too much you’ll be jittery. And remember to drink water!
3. Sleep: I am one of the biggest culprits of this, but staying up late to study for a few more hours will often hurt you more than it will help. When I get a good night’s sleep the night before an exam (at least 8 hours), I can remember the stuff I studied better than if I tried to cram in a few more chapters late at night.
4. Get Exercise: Stand up and move! Go for a walk, do yoga or jumping jacks. It helps you stay healthy – mentally and emotionally as well as physically – so that you’ll be able to focus more when you study.
5. Reward Yourself: Set goals, and when you meet them, give yourself a treat. Whether it’s watching an episode of your favourite TV show, buying a fancy latte, or visiting with friends, these breaks will help you stay positive and focused when it’s time to hit the books.
6. Teach Someone: When you talk through a concept to explain it to someone else, it helps you gain a better understanding of the ideas yourself. When I explain questions to friends, it helps me remember and answer them more concisely on exams.
7. Find a Comfortable Study Space: It’s important to find a place where you are comfortable. I like to study in places that have lots of light, where there are people around me and I can spread out my books. This will be different for everyone, so find what works for you.
Over time, you will learn what works best for you, how to study, and how to stay calm. And in the end, whether you’ve received the best grade you can imagine or the worst, remember that the mark does not define who you are.