November is here! Can you believe it? You know what that means!
Christmas is fast approaching. But before we can rejoice in our Lord’s birth in December, we have to brave through the month of November, a month of trial and hardship. This is what we, university students, call the exam period.
Fret not! Here I present to you 10 survival tips for university exams to, hopefully, help you pull through it!
Tip #1: Plan!
Planning a timetable is essential. Be aware of the day(s) and time(s) when your exams are. Put them in BOLD red and stick it on your dashboard or pin board in your room, or even your study table, to remind you of the important dates and times.
Plan your study schedule according to that, keep to your schedule and remember, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Tip #2: Take Notes
If you are someone who regularly makes and takes notes, this should not be a problem for you.
However, for those who are not used to jotting down notes while studying, one rule is to write down the main points of the lecture. DO NOT copy word for word onto your notebook because that is not making notes, that is transferring printed words into a written form.
Colour coding is another added tip. For example, red could mean important information, blue could be used to describe a specific mechanism of something and the list goes on. Colours help to stimulate our brains to remember them better, especially if you use them for association purposes. Use colourful Post-its, highlighters and page markers.
Tip #3: Eat healthy snacks
In the midst of studying, I am pretty sure all of us experience an immense hunger. This is because our brain is using up the energy provided from the food to our body as we are studying and thinking. Hence, why not spoil yourself with a snack?
However, a healthy snack is more beneficial than junk food. Snacking on brain food, such as almonds could help with the brain stimulation. Moreover, you can even place small snacks on each part of a page, so when you finish reading and understanding that part, you could eat the snack as a reward for studying. Another bonus? Eating healthy keeps your body feeling healthy and energetic.
Tip #4: Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks!
Nothing is ever good if it is too much, right? The same goes for caffeine and energy drinks. Drink them in moderation and do not have a dependence on them. You may think that due to the stimulatory effect of the caffeine and energy drinks, that you can stay awake longer and study effectively. However, the common aftermath of the drink is fatigue, which can be detrimental to the body.
Tip #5: Have a good break (whenever necessary)
Take a break after a whole load of studying. Stand up and stretch for a bit, karaoke to one of your favourite songs, or even watch a video or two on Youtube. Your body needs a moment to rest as well but with the proportion of the amount of studying done. All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, no?
Don’t forget to BREATHE as well! C’mon, do it with me! Take a deeeeeeep breath, count in your head mentally one to five slowly, and exhale slowly. Does that instantly relax you a bit? Taking slow and deep breaths help to keep the oxygen flow in your body and your brain going at a good pace and prepares you for the next battle of conquering the next few parts of the lecture.
Tip #6: Study groups
Studying alone could lead to procrastination and major sleepiness, especially in a very silent environment. If that’s the case for you, maybe a study group could help.
A study group allows you to learn from others while learning by teaching others too.
You have a lot of enquiries? No problem. Discussion can be done and you do not only help yourself but you are helping others to find the answers too. If you have a question, someone else in the group will bound to have the same question. Plus, your weaknesses maybe someone else’s strength. Think of a study group as an accountability partner, with everyone in the study group motivating and encouraging each other to do more.
Tip # 7: Acronyms, abbreviations, jokes, gestures and stories
Another way to study is to be active when you are studying. This means to constantly think of ways to remember certain facts or information through acronyms, abbreviations, jokes and stories. Make up an easy story, a song, a rhyme or even act if out. The trick is to make something that is really funny so you can remember it easily.
Tip #8: Keep moving forward
One of the major things that happen minutes prior to and after an exam is that people around you tend to ask questions, testing each other or recalling the answers to the questions in the exam. All of this is distracting and you should not participate in any of this because they are bad mentally for your other upcoming exams.
Having the constant thought of whether you knew the answer or not, or if you wrote the correct answer or not do not make any difference anymore. What is done is done. Life goes on. If you didn’t do well for the test, there’s always next time. Strive on and push yourself to do better next time. Learn from your mistakes and improve on them; that’s the point of being examined, right?
Tip #9: Sleep
Sleep deprivation is bad. Never forsake the privilege of sleep. Why?
Sleep is supposed to rejuvenate our body, restoring balance and detoxifying our body. Moreover, sleep plays a big role on not only the physical being but also the mental and emotional being of us. Lack of sleep promotes fatigue, lack of awareness and emotional instability, which are not beneficial conditions to be in, especially for an exam.
Don’t think that because you’re young, you can push through everything. No matter how young or how old you may be, sleep is essential. It’s not worth burning the midnight oil if you’re not going to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit for the exam. You might even end up with more mistakes!
Tip #10: Prayers
The most important thing of all survival tips is to PRAY. Don’t ever forget that we have to cling on to God for strength and discipline to study and to not give up. Pray for guidance. Pray for information retention. Pray for no temptation to cheat. Pray during your preparations for your exam, before your study sessions and especially before and after an exam. Don’t forget to offer up your efforts when studying into His hands. When you have done your part, God will do His part. And don’t make prayers your last resort! It should always be your first thing to do in any situation.
In conclusion, I hope these 10 tips have helped you in any way. Exam periods are tough times but we’ll pull through it. Don’t forget that you are not alone on this journey.