Unfortunately, that time of year is coming again where a lot of people have to take exams. Let’s face it, exams suck - whether you’re facing finals, end-of year-tests, a driving test or a college admittance test, they are always far too much stress and anxiety for many people. Here’s how you can make them easier.
Clear your desk
Keeping the space around you organised does help, especially for the subjects that you find difficult. Avoid procastrination, but cleaning up your desk can really clear your mind. Just make sure you don’t clean up and then decide to take a shower, then watch that funny video your friend told you about, then decide you really have to go grocery shopping, then read your favourite book… You get the point. Organise yourself, and start studying straight afterwards. No more excuses.
Find a quiet spot
Take your time to find a perfect place to study. If you’re a college student with busy house/roommates, it might be a good idea to go to the library – you’ll find a lot of other exam victims there. If the weather is good (why are most of those important exams always in May/June?) go and sit outside with something to drink. Just because you have exams, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun. Make sure you have as little distraction around you as possible, from your roommates, parents, siblings, pets – everyone, unless it is absolutely necessary.
Turn off your phone
It always used to take me ages to be fully concentrated on school work and not get distracted anymore. My phone always lay next to me on my desk, and just as I was fully concentrated, it would go off. I never could resist answering my conversation, and an hour would go by before I knew it. A vicious cycle.
So tell your friends that you have to study, or otherwise put your phone/tablet on airplane mode or under your pillow. It works wonders, trust me –as useful as social media may be, there is nothing so bad for your concentration as Whatsapp or Facebook.
Make summaries – and write them on paper
Making summaries is much better than rote-learning and will help you to actually understand what you are studying. You can even write an interesting article about your test material and post it online, thus studying and making money in the process!
If you can, write everything down on paper several times instead of typing it. In 2012, reseachers at Indiana University found out that writing is more beneficial to learning than typing, because for each letter you make a different movement with your hand. With typing on a computer, you keep repeating the same action of pressing a button and there is no difference between the ‘p’ and the ‘z’, but when you write the word, your brain will automatically connect your hand’s movement to the meaning of the word, and you will remember it faster.
Take some rest the night before
The night before your exam, don’t study intensively. Instead, try to take some exercise to calm down and relax your nerves. Go for a walk or try jogging. This will get the toxins out of your body and help you to sleep better. In addition, try to eat healthily – although some people (like me) will experience unhealthy food cravings, try to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and eat balanced meals with a lot of fruit and vegetables. Read through the material just one more time and go to bed early. Even if you're going to lie awake worrying about your test for most of the night, this the right thing to do. You need as many hours as possible. Don’t stress – it’s all going to be perfectly fine!
Unless you didn’t study of course.
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