Exams. They are upon us.
Exams can be so stressful. I was lucky enough to have them in two chunks, instead of one continuous stream of tests. The first week, I just drowned in books, eating my feelings and crying and it just wasn’t pretty. I don’t think I did my hair for the whole week.
But then this second half I’m doing so much better! I changed a couple thing, got a new mindset, and it’s working so much better! I mean, my hair’s not in a ponytail for starters.
Here are some exam tips that I have used and have helped me achieve my best even when under stress.
First off, I had to change my mindset.
Exams are not the most important thing in the world, and neither are marks. They are important, yes. They are very important. But if you get a low mark on an exam, your life will not be over.
When you release yourself from that pressure, you’re a lot less stressed, and I find that my mind works better and I’m a lot more productive.
Second, I had to break it up into smaller pieces.
I’m in psychology. There’s a LOT of reading in psychology. No matter what, it always feels like there’s more to do, more to read, more to memorize…
First half, I just studied non-stop, getting 200 pages done in a row. But the problem is, with that overload my brain just wasn’t retaining any information. And that was really frustrating, creating a negative spiral.
So second half, I tried to split it up. Do two sections, take a 15 minute break. Do three sections, take a break.
Giving myself smaller chunks to handle made it more reasonable, and the breaks gave my brain time to process what I had just studied.
Third, do the freaking practice questions.
Seriously. They’re there for a reason. It doesn’t help you to just read, memorize, study, and never process. The study questions help you fully grasp concepts and apply them, as well as understand what you need to go over again.
Fourth, make yourself deadlines
I decided when I needed to have different chapters finished by and if I didn’t have them done by the time I set, I stayed up and got them done. Make sure you give adequate time for the courses you need more studying for, and put in time for extra study material such as practice exams, reviewing tests, and the like.
Fifth, take time to relax.
Remember, exams are over a long period. With my school, we have 2 weeks for 5 tests, and no classes in that time. You have a lot more free time than you think, and you will need some time to just relax or go do something fun.
Hang out with friends, go dancing, have a movie night, just do something to get your mind off of school. There always needs to be a balance of school and play, so make sure to give yourself some time to unwind.
I wrote a post on how to relax when you’re stressed, so check it out here, and try some of them out! 🙂
Sixth, put in time for God.
I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true. When you put in time to read your Bible and pray, life just seems to go smoother. I find I have a clearer head, am more productive, and just in a better mood! So make sure to take time, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour.
So there you have it. Those are my six steps to less stressful exams.Best of luck to you all–we’ve got this!