It’s that time of the year again.
It’s Christmas Time! It’s Exam Season!
Whether you have a few exams coming up or you have some essays due in the next couple of weeks, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all collectively feeling stressed out.
I’m trying to stay positive though, especially because December is my favourite month. Not only is it Christmas season but it also happens to be my birth month.
Shoutout to all the Sagittarius babes in the club right now!
Unfortunately, since I started university 3 years ago, it also coincides with exam season.
It’s the homestretch of the semester. I cannot wait to forget about exams and just focus on relaxing: get myself in the Christmas spirit while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and watching the snowfall outside my window.
But before daydreaming about all that warm, fuzzy, blissful goodness, we gotta get to work to ace all of those exams!
As I am in the 4th year, I took it upon myself to reflect on what has and what has not worked for me in the past.
Here are some helpful study tips that I’ve found to be pretty useful:
- Work smart, not hard: You can work hard and spend the entire day re-reading a whole chapter, or you can spend your time wisely by only focusing on key points. Highlight, make annotations, make cue cards etc. If there are some concepts that are particularly challenging, you’d want to devote your time on those and/or clarify with your professors well ahead of time. By working “smart, not hard”, your using your energy wisely and studying without exhausting yourself.
- Study a little bit each day: I know that cramming is just easier to do sometimes but you’re really just doing yourself a disservice. By studying a little bit each day, you’re giving your brain a chance to slowly simmer in the information, giving it time to be stored in your long-term memory for easy access later on during your exam. Cramming just doesn’t work because you’re overwhelming yourself! PLUS, most students cram while pulling an all-nighter hours before the exam starts, which is just a recipe for disaster.
- WRITE, write, and write. One of my high school teachers would make us write all the key information before our exam. Writing something is equivalent to reading it 7 times. By taking the time to hand-write your notes, you’re increasing the amount of attention that you’re allocating to the information, making it easier to remember later on.
- Keep in mind what your professors expect/will include in the exam. Though most professors won’t give you an exam review, they will usually tell you what the format of the exam is (e.g. Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Fill-in-the-blanks). They may also mention what key concepts to pay particular attention to, and how much of the test will be drawn from textbook/literature readings vs. lectures. Some professors will focus more on what was discussed in the lecture, while some may not mention certain concepts in the lecture that were mentioned in the book BUT still include it in the exam. Write these down in detail and have it in the back of your mind while you’re studying. Oh and also, GO TO YOUR LECTURES 🙂
- Sleep. This one is SO underrated but probably the most important. Studies have shown that sleep enhances memory and helps reduce anxiety. Instead of cramming, get some rest!
- Remember to forget. After writing an exam, I have the tendency to overthink things. I start ruminating about what I could’ve done better and start frantically flipping through my notes and textbook to see how many questions I got right. Which items did I get wrong? Which did I get right? What mark am I likely going to get??? How much will this affect my average? But no matter how much “studying” I do right after the exam, I already wrote it so what’s done is done. This is difficult, I know, but I find that the feeling usually passes as the days go by. Just give it time and know that you did the best you could.
Go forth my friends, and ace those exams! No matter how stressed you are, just know that YOU ARE ENOUGH AND YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!