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House of Math blog post authorMuhammad Haris · 

How to Tackle the Exam Period

Woman holding up a calendar, ready to plan her month

The exam period is here. The last barrier of the semester before you can take a well deserved break. The period leading up to the exam can be stressful. Have you practiced enough? Do you know the curriculum as well as you should? It can be difficult to keep up the motivation and keep your stress levels down. So how do you minimize this stress and tackle your exam days? We have come up with a list of steps that you can follow to get the best out of exam days. Let us take a look.

Steady Pace

“Slow and steady wins the race”. It is widely accepted that the best way to tackle exams is to maintain a steady pace over the course of a complete academic year rather than relying solely on the exam days to study. Try to find a balance between co-curriculum and studies in daily life to prepare you for the exams even if they are far. This gives you a sense of confidence which goes a long way.

Organize

First things first. Exams are here and so is the exam stress. So what do you do? Organize. Organize your study material, study space, your schedule and your priorities. Tidy surroundings can give you calmness to perform better.

Study Material and Space

If you have taken good, structured notes throughout the semester, then you’ve already done a lot of the work. Otherwise, separate notes of relevant subjects and avoid any clutter. This gives you a clear sense of what is required to be done in the given time. Clean up your study desk and ensure that you don’t need to get up time after time to break focus.

Want to learn how to make good notes?

Priorities

Renowned British author Nigel Cumberland in his famous book “100 Things Successful People do” studied some of the top successful people of the world and came to the conclusion that prioritizing can be of massive importance when targeting a goal. In our case, making the most out of our exam days would be our top priority. Make sure to minimize any activity that may not be beneficial to your study like playing video games or watching TV. Be sure to prioritize any activities that may indirectly benefit your studies such as physical activities.

Study Schedule

Organize your schedule to maximize the time of the day dedicated towards study. Remember to take breaks, this can help you work more productively. A technique many students find useful is to follow the Pomodoro Technique - take a break of five minutes after every twenty five minutes of study to freshen up your mind. It is wise to avoid screens for your short break, this can help you avoid headaches during longer study sessions. If you need help to plan your studies, take a look here.

Ask Mentors

Remember that you are not the first one to go through exam stress. Your seniors have gone through this and you will too. Reach out to a mentor, or any experienced and trusted advisor. A mentor can be a senior, family members or even a mentor on demand. Share any issues you might face during preparation, let it be an elusive concept or mental stress.

Work Breakdown

Break your work into small achievable objectives and milestones. This gives you a clear idea of how to get through the workload. Professional project managers call this the WBS technique and use this to effectively complete extensive projects on time. Treat yourself when you reach a milestone, maybe a snack or an added break. This keeps the motivation up and removes the mind cluster, ultimately giving you a sense of confidence. You will find yourself avoiding procrastination and getting things done on time through this technique.

Past Exams

Working through past exams is an excellent way of preparing for an exam. This gives you an idea of what to expect from the exam, both regarding the format and the content. Consider timing yourself in a mock exam.

The Feynman Technique

Study as if you were the teacher and were preparing to give a lecture. When you explain a concept to others, you come across many smaller yet essential concepts which you might have missed otherwise. This tried and tested technique proves to be beneficial for both the individuals involved.

Feedback

Get feedback from your teachers and classmates. Teachers are often available in office hours for student counseling. Consider visiting them and discussing past exams or tests to identify any potential weakness. Ask you classmates to test you beforehand and get their constructive criticism.

Remain Healthy and Motivated

The human mind is a bustling hub of electrical activities. Studies have shown that your brain produces alpha brain waves responsible for increasing productivity, improving memory and increasing creativity. These waves are produced when you wake up in the morning, just before you go to bed and right after light exercise and meditation. Use this time to your advantage. Focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle leading to a sharper mind. Keep your hopes up and morale high. Know why you are here and what is on the other side.

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