Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How To: Survive Exam Season

It's Decemeber.

For some of you that means Christmas.  Family.  Fun.  For students it means exams.  All-nighters, stress, copious amounts of coffee, and calculating minimum grades needed to pass (we have all done it, don't lie to me).

Here are some tools and tips for surviving the most wonderful time of the year.

Survival Tools:
- Earplugs
- Melatonin
- Kleenex
- Agendas/Calenders/Day Planners
-Multi-coloured pens and highlighters
- Cue cards
- 8tracks Instrumental playlists
(Try THIS one, THIS one, or THIS one)

Survival Tips:

1) Don't overdose on caffeine.  If you drink too much coffee, or even worse, sugary and caffeine-ridden Starbucks, YOU WILL NOT SLEEP.  Sleep is essential, your brain processes what you have been studying while you are asleep.  Lay off the stuff that keeps you awake and that will help you with Tip #2 which is...

2) Get into a normal sleeping pattern.  Staying up late to cram seems like a great idea until you're sleeping in until 2pm and realize all of your exams are at 8:30am.  Fun fact: If you go to bed at 9pm and sleep for 8 hours, you get a better quality of sleep than if you go to bed at 3am and sleep for the same amount of time.  If you're having trouble fixing your sleep pattern, invest in melatonin.  If you take it 30 minutes before you try to sleep, you will fall asleep and sleep well.  It only takes a few days to fix your sleeping pattern.  As well, avoid electronics an hour before you try to sleep.  Do a little bit of reading instead, it helps your brain wind down (even if it's material you need to know for an exam).

3) Come prepared to exams. This seems like a no-brainer, but let me explain.  Yes, you know you need to bring a pen, pencil, eraser, and your student ID to an exam.  But what about Kleenex for when your nose runs?  And a pair of earplugs for when you endup next to that annoying person with a hacking cough or constant sniffle.  Trust me, earplugs in massive exam halls are a godsend.

4) Peppermint everything.  Peppermint actually helps you retain and remember information. Trying chewing gum or drinking tea while you study, and chew that same gum during your exam.  If you can bring in drinks, bring a peppermint tea. Your grades can only benefit from it.

5) Take time off, but don't take days off.  It's good to give yourself a break, but make sure it isn't a full day.  If you lose motivation for 24 hours, it's just that much harder to get it back.  Take some time to go out for dinner, go for a walk, watch a movie, whatever you need to do.  But don't take the whole day.  You will regret it.

6) Study smarter.  Find what works for you and exploit that.  Maybe one hour chunks are the only way you stay focused.  Great, do that.  Maybe you study better in coffee shops than in libraries.  Maybe colour-coding is what helps you learn.  Maybe flash cards help you remember and retain information.  Sitting at a desk reading the same sentence 20 times is not going to help you learn, figure out what works and DO IT.

7) Make plans for when you're done.  Having that motivation is great.  Just knowing you are having dinner with a friend or going out with your significant other is enough to motivate you to get through to the other side of exams season.

I really hope this helps you guys make it through exams season.  My first exam was today, but for those of you who are done/almost done, congrats on getting this far!



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