Stressed Students: Here’s 7 Steps to Help You Ace that Exam
Whether you’re a first year student: fresh out of orientation and still learning how to register for courses, or in your sixth semester: an experienced tutor in your department who has managed to survive the last two semesters on a diet of ramen noodles and black coffee... exams are tough. Exams are nerve-wracking. If you’re not careful, exams can make or break your academic career.
However, every student has to write an exam or a final paper at some point, right? Are you asking yourself: how does everyone else do it without feeling crushed under the weight of all-night study sessions and keyboard-induced carpal tunnel? If you are, then this is the article for you. Here are some personal tips and our favourite products to help you have a successful, stress-free end of the semester
Maybe you think you’re ready to write an exam. You’ve gone to all of the lectures and taken extensive notes. Sure, you forgot to do a couple of assignments and didn’t think to finish some of the readings, but that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong! Many professors or lecturers base some exam questions off of material that isn’t covered in the lecture at all, but in the extra reading or assignments mentioned in the syllabus. Stay on top of those out-of-class learning opportunities with the use of an academic planner. Write down when you want to complete a certain chapter or assignment and make a habit of looking into your planner everyday.
So, now that you’ve got the extra assignments and readings on schedule: don’t skip class. Professors and instructors work hard to provide insightful, informative lessons; your only job is to show up, take notes, and participate in discussion (if necessary). Going to class is the easiest, yet most effective, way to get the information you need to pass your exams or write your paper.
If you’ve got problems waking up to get to that 8 a.m. course on the other side of campus, here’s a solution: A Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock. Sleeping through classes will be a thing of the past.
Now that you’re sitting in class and completing the extra assignments, make sure you take clear and organised notes during the lecture. This is especially important: notes will be useless for exam preparation if you can’t even read them later on. Try to compare notes with friends, too. This will be helpful if one of you is confused about something in the lecture or forgot to write something important. Remember, clarity and brevity is key. Of course, you should review these notes periodically as the semester goes on. If you’d like to keep your notes nice and organized, check out this cool tab notebook.
At this point, you’re halfway through the semester and starting to get the hang of everything. You regularly review your notes, complete the readings, and somehow manage to get to class every morning. However, this is usually when stress starts to kick in. Projects piling up and the exam date looming over your shoulder can cause some serious anxiety. Try staying active by doing yoga, going for a jog, or lifting weights. Countless studies have proven that exercise is great for managing stress; just check out this article by the Mayo Clinic.
While studying might seem like a solitary activity, meeting up with school colleagues is actually a very effective way of learning or re-interpreting exam material. Group study sessions aren’t just helpful for exam study sessions, but also for preparation to write a final essay at home. You can meet up with fellow students to discuss your paper’s thesis, the reliability of certain sources, and to peer review each other’s essays. Check out this article on the subject from the Washington University in St. Louis. Just don’t forget the brain food for your study group.
Seek Out TutoringView Deal
Are you still worried that you don’t fully grasp a test concept or that your peers didn’t review your paper properly? Almost all universities have some kind of tutoring center where students can meet with either a professor, teaching assistant, or fellow student to get help. Don’t be too proud to ask for help: everyone needs some support every now and then. If you’re lucky, you will find a tutor who has a teaching style which is compatible with your personal learning style.
If you can’t find a personal tutor, check out Khan Academy: it’s an educational website with over 3000 educational videos on nearly 200 topics. Sometimes a new perspective on an old topic is just what the doctor (or professor) ordered.
You’ve been working so hard all semester, and with the exam right around the corner, you’re probably feeling the physical and mental pressure of stress more than ever. Stress can be very dangerous, as outlined in this article from the American Psychological Association.
Be sure to manage your stress levels and take a mental health break a couple of days before the exam. Go for a walk in the park, spend a relaxing day or evening with friends, or allow yourself to enjoy your favorite creative hobby instead of studying for an entire afternoon. Our editors like to light aromatherapeutic candles to calm their nerves.