Exams: a word that strikes fear and stress into the hearts and minds of uni students worldwide. But with our top tips for managing exam time, you can rest easy. Well, almost. You better read through those outstanding notes first.
- Get healthy. Make a conscious decision to prioritise your health over the next few weeks, because a healthy body means a healthy mind! Eat foods rich in vitamins and proteins; green leafy veggies and fresh fruits should definitely be a staple on your menu, as should fish, the ultimate brain food. Exercise is important too – even just a 10-minute walk around the block can improve your concentration. And don’t forget to get your eight hours of sleep every night, at a regular time, especially the night before an exam.
- Avoid negativity. Try to notice when the negative thoughts start creeping in, and stop them in their tracks with a little positive thinking, swapping “I’m going to fail!” with “I’m going to pass!”. Try to stay away from stressful people too - no studying with your disorganised friend who keeps whining about the mountain of study he/she still has to do. Remove yourself from others’ stress, because it can rub off on you and bring you down.
- Take advantage at home. Not too much, but just enough – after all, you’re in a delicate condition leading up to exams. Have your family cook your favourite meals, or your housemates turn down the volume on the TV. If you can discuss and agree on some extra perks or rules for ‘exam time’ with those that you live with, you know you won’t be adding even more stress to your plate in the next few weeks. Ask your friends and family to be extra considerate.
- Find the right environment. The environment you are in during study time can influence your memory, so try replicating exam conditions as much as possible when you hit the books. This will help when you finally go into the exam room, triggering your memory back to ‘study time’. Try it out: no TV in the background, no lying down on the bed, or spreading your notes all over the carpet. Sit at a plain, uncluttered desk, just as you will on the big day.
- Give yourself a break. A ten-minute break every 50 minutes is a good schedule to work to. Reward yourself after each 50-minute block of study by taking a relaxing walk, logging into Facebook, plugging in your iPod, or eating a snack. You’ll return to study in a much better mood, and hopefully with some clarity too.
- Read and write. Some people have a habit of just passively flicking through their notes or their textbook, and while there’s no ‘wrong’ way to study, when you write notes as well as read you are actively selecting facts . Where you can, write using your own language too, rather than just copying phrases straight from the book. This way you are actually understanding and interpreting the information.
- Don’t dwell. Once it’s all over, try not to talk about it with your classmates. You’ll only depress yourself if you find out you answered a question wrong, or doubt yourself if someone says they approached the essay differently. There’s nothing you can do about it now, so instead of worrying about it, reward yourself for doing your best. Buy yourself a present, or go catch up with friends over coffee. Rejoice in the fact that at least it’s over!
For more tips and information on study skills, visit the Faculty of Business and Law Academic Skills Centre in Building 2 at Joondalup, or Building 10 at Mount Lawley. You can also access their workshop timetables online by logging into Blackboard.Faculty of Business and Law Academic Skills Centre
Phone: 134 ECU (134 328)