Exam Tips: Keep a clear head this finals season!

With classes coming to an end this Friday comes the long-awaited (or dreaded) finals season. Whether you have 1 exam or 6, you’ll ultimately be feeling some stress during these next few weeks. Read on to learn some tips on how to keep a clear head and avoid stress during exams this year, so that you make it to the holidays with your mental state intact!


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1. Plan: To avoid last minute cramming, make sure you start your studying early and plan it effectively. Start today by making a study schedule, outlining when you will study, what subject you will study and also the area you will be focusing on. By outlining this for each subject, you will be able to see that you have all of the important areas covered, to ensure that your review of the material is complete.

2. Make study notes/practice: While your studying, it is helpful to try and summarize what you have learned into clear, concise notes, which you can refer back to routinely throughout your preparation. It is a good idea to have these notes prepped and completed a few days before the exam. This way, you will be able to continually read through them in those last few days and solidify the key concepts in your memory. Another key component to successful studying is practicing. Whether this is by working through sample problems, questions, essay topics or by explaining a something to to somebody else, being able to apply the information is key to developing a strong understanding of the concepts which will appear on the exam.

3. Know the exam: Try and get as much information as you can about the type of exam you will be writing. Review to your lecture notes for advice your prof might have provided you with. Look at sample questions and practice exams posted on Vista and see if you can work through them. Identify how you should study for different types of exams and make sure that you are effectively preparing yourself for each one, whether you are writing an essay-based exam vs. a multiple choice exam.

4. Take care of yourself: During finals season, it can be tempting to study all day long and pull all nighters, as well as neglect a healthy lifestyle. While this may be convenient for your studying, it can very harmful to your physical and mental well-being. Make sure you are scheduling adequate activity in your day, even if it is just going for a quick walk. Proper diet is also key and eating healthy will help in the long run with improving your memory and mental dexterity. Take breaks throughout the day and do something fun just for you each day to rejuvenate yourself after your hard work. Finally, make sure you are well rested and get plenty of sleep at night. Your mind will thank you come exam time and you will be at your peak performance to ace your exam!

5. Stay positive on exam day: Finally after all of that hard work and long hours of studying, the exam day arrives. A friend of mine told me that on exam day, she does whatever is possible to put herself in a good mood. Play your favourite song in the morning, puts on a lucky shirt and pump yourself up with positive self-talk. Focus on what you do know and don’t stress about what you didn’t get to. Arrive for exam early and sit up front to avoid distractions. Once the exam is over, remind yourself that you have done the best you could and that you can’t go back. Be happy with yourself for completing the exam and move on.
Keep these exam tips in mind throughout this finals season and I hope that you can effectively prepare for and write your exams. Best of luck!

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