Exam Hacks: the Best Ways to Prepare for Your Finals

Exam season is stressful at best for most, and maddening at worst for some. How many hours should you study? Which subjects should you study for first, or most? There are so many questions students ask themselves during this time – and not all of them are related to studying.

Preparing for exams isn’t just about study – it’s also about planning and self-care. Here are some of the best ways to prepare for your upcoming college exams.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is critical to your mind functioning at peak capacity. Go to bed at a reasonable hour, and don’t force yourself to get up earlier just so you can study. If you have trouble falling asleep some or all of the time, try disconnecting from screens at least an hour before bed, and relax with a cup of tea and a book to allow your mind to unwind before turning in. For those with insomnia, have a chat with your doctor about how best to address your insomnia.

Plan Out Your Schedule

Map out your class schedule in your online or smartphone calendar. Block out breaks for eating, relaxing, and seeing friends – and block out when you plan to study. Pay attention to when you seem to absorb the most information, and try to schedule your study time for those times of day, whether you learn best at the crack of dawn or well into the evening. Stick to your schedule – having structure will help you feel more in control during this stressful time, and may help to diminish panic.

Order Your Subjects From Difficult to Easy

If you’re acing European history but you’re struggling in Statistics, you should probably spend more time studying for Statistics. Order your subjects from most difficult to the easiest in terms of how comfortable you feel with each subjects and how you’ve been doing overall in that course. While you shouldn’t neglect studying for your easiest subjects, you should spend the most time on those subjects you find most challenging.

Join a Study Group

While it’s certainly better to join a study group earlier in the semester, joining a study group for your exams can only be of benefit to you. Talk to your classmates, especially those in classes you find difficult, and see if you can form one – or join an already existing one. Share notes, do problems, answer essay questions and give each other feedback.

Remember to Eat and Drink

Keeping hydrated, like getting enough sleep, is critical to maintaining brain function. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you find it helpful, keep a reusable water bottle handy and sip regularly. Make sure to eat several meals a day, and snack on brain-boosting and memory-improving foods like blueberries, bananas, fish, and yogurt. Don’t consume too much sugar or caffeine, as consuming too much of either will result in crashes.

Don’t Cram

The worst possible thing you can do is try to stuff everything you need to know and remember into your head the night before your exam. Instead, start studying at least a week in advance. If your professor has given you an exam guide or mock exam, read it through carefully and create an outline for what you most need to study. Do a little bit each day, either by yourself or with your study group. Do make sure to review your material the night before, or even just before your exam – but don’t make the mistake of making that your only study session.

Same applies to writing research papers, essays, and even book reports. By plagiarizing someone’s essay is not something you should do. Beating Turnitin is possible, but only with a professional help. Read all about how to cheat Turnitin here.

Ask For Help

Most universities and colleges offer academic resources such as math and language labs, learning centers, and writing centers. Take full advantage of these services whenever you run up against difficulty in your courses, and especially at exam time. While many academic support centers are walk-in, some centers require appointments for tutoring sessions, so make sure to book yours in advance so you can get the help that you need.

Keep It Tidy

Keeping your desk and study space clean and orderly can assist with your concentration – as can keeping your overall living space tidy. Take five to ten minutes every day to tidy up your place, particularly your study area – the physical activity can also help to get your brain moving – before you sit down to do assignments or study for your examinations.

Preparing for final exams is stressful for all but a very few students; however, using these tips to prepare for your exams will assist you in reducing your stress levels, and achieving a higher level of performance on your exams.

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