Oh, we remember how hectic Finals week was! Whether you’re in high school or even approaching the final stages of your college career, most would agree that any type of exam will shake the nerves of the most confident and prepared student.
Among the worst things some students can do is prepare for a multiple-choice test when they should be studying for a writing test. Knowing and studying an exam format can really be key to preparing for an exam.
Likewise, there are many unique ways to memorize material while you study! Following a few simple tips could make the test a little simpler and yours will make your life less of a hassle.
Before we begin, our biggest TIP for finals week is STUDY A WEEK EARLY!
This avoids any stress, negative mindset, burnout, etc. to know that you have had enough time to study.
1. Don’t study things you already know.
The BIGGEST mistake we’ve seen students make when they start studying for their final exam is reviewing the course information they already know, such as the topics covered in Exams 1 and 2 above. I hope you agree with me that there is a lot of information that needs to be covered in each of your courses … Don’t waste your time and effort brushing up on the basic knowledge or concepts that you should have already learned as common sense.
Sit in a quiet area with your class notes on the table. Then highlight all the chapters you don’t understand. This is the initial step to study … With this, you can focus and prioritize your time on the areas you need to brush up on.
Be sure to read the textbook (the chapters the test covers) or PowerPoint slides that are provided in your course. By doing so, you should be able to gain a firm understanding of the sections you need to attack the most.
At this point, evaluate the material and compare it to the study guide or exam review provided by your teacher while trying to cross out topics not covered in the exam review.
The chapters that are not crossed out are the ones you need to focus your time on. Reducing the amount of information that must be studied within the week before the exam allows additional time to be allocated to more difficult topics.
2. Be active and eat.
Lying on the couch in your favorite sweatshirt may seem like the best way to study … but it’s not! Being too comfortable can easily result in fatigue, naps, and daydreaming. It’s best to try studying while standing, with your notes in your hands, and reviewing when you walk.
Find a clear classroom and use the white board to your advantage. Visuals (concept maps, diagrams, and graphs) can reinvigorate the research session and add some humor to the learning process.
Make sure you eat! Eating carbohydrates allows the brain to think more clearly, more focused and without fatigue. However, junk food can be inexpensive and may seem like it saves you time and money – it does nothing to help your brain retain information. Avoid processed and junk food such as fast food restaurants, salty snacks, or even soda.
Pasta, sandwiches, milk, vegetables, and fruits are wonderful sources of carbohydrates and should really be incorporated into the diet while studying for a test. Particularly the night before and also in the morning. Never study hungry – it’s impossible to focus when your stomach keeps growling at you! Then the mind focuses on wanting food and not learning.
It is also vital that you get regular sleep. Having a fatigued brain during an exam will exponentially reduce your exam performance, although it is fine and very common to spend the entire night, be sure to set limits or take 30 minute naps. Don’t drink too many energy drinks, sugar can cause your body to crash the next day, limit yourself to two drinks maximum, if not less.
It’s also smart to pump and move your body before testing. Take a quick walk. Studies show that exercise allows your blood stream to flow, allowing your body to generate an adrenaline rush while also raising endorphin levels (in your body). It is also a common way to deal with anxiety and stress!
3. Know the purpose:
Why am I even studying this? We often have a common symptom called “information overload” while we study … This is why it often becomes difficult to recall material afterwards. Make sure you know the purpose of why you are studying, what motivates you to keep going?
– Know a particular concept or idea.
– Improve yourself in a particular area.
– Know why someone did something in particular.
– Answer the questions of the assigned academic study.
Having a purpose in mind while studying can dramatically help you focus only on the relevant information and remember it better.
There are a practically infinite number of reasons why you may be studying something, make sure you understand what is yours.
4. Study before going to sleep and immediately after getting out of bed.
The most ideal time to review or learn something is simply before going to sleep and immediately when you wake up. Throughout the day, the mind becomes overloaded with a lot of useless information and keeps trying to filter the information that is useful and worth remembering and that which is not.
Make sure you don’t brush your teeth in the morning. Rare, but true, studies show that when you brush your teeth, you are telling your brain that you are ready to go. With this, your brain starts to feel rushed when you try to study, but in the end, you are just flipping through and trying to accumulate all the information at once.
This makes it easier to forget things. Imagine if you are asked what you did yesterday after a long and difficult day, can you answer? Yes, it looks a lot like that. Before sleeping and after getting out of bed, your mind cools itself and secretes some chemicals that can help sharpen your memory.
5. Remember what you have learned:
Try to spend 15 minutes reviewing what you have learned. If you have adopted some of these methods, you will be amazed at how much you remember, and your confidence in your ability to remember will also improve. This improves the entire process and you will put more effort into getting out of bed the next day and getting back to work.
Tired of procrastinating and then panicking to get things done at the last minute? If so, you need to do proper planning.
Proper planning and using correct methods will help you plan your day effectively. We fully understand how stressful it is to be a college student and submitting assignments as well as preparing for exams, but if you start studying from the beginning of the year, you should face fewer problems.
The most prepared student may seem stressed and overwhelmed with possible test results, and there is always time to reality check. Getting a bad grade, passing an exam, or failing a class is not good for the ego, yet it does happen. Don’t think this is the end of the world. Create a list of possible outcomes and organize them for everyone.
Talk to your friends and family and explain the problem to them. They are a great source of comfort and support. Getting a plan even when everything doesn’t go exactly the way you want it to is a great way to take the anxiety out of the exam taking situation.