Christina Nguyen, Staff Writer
- Start studying early
Start studying as soon as you know your exam date. Throughout the semester, read over your notes after each class to make sure you’re understanding all the material. Rewrite notes in your own words or make study guides; this will make studying easier. Create your own little techniques to remember the information you study.
- Have a plan to manage your time
Cramming all night usually doesn’t work. Schedule your study time in advance so you’ll feel confident you have enough time to prepare. Plan to study for about 50 minutes at a time, with 5 or 10-minute breaks. Try not to do anything too absorbing on your breaks, to make sure you do go back to studying. Have a snack, watch some TV or go for a short walk. Study to understand the material, and not just to memorize it; this will help you on application-style questions. Also, plan to study in a quiet place where you can concentrate, especially if you have siblings! They can find all types of way to distract you.
- Be healthy
When we’re stressed, we tend to want to eat junk food, but eating healthy will actually make you feel better. Drink water instead of caffeinated drinks; it’s a healthy way to quench your thirst and it’s like heaven in a cup. Also, get enough sleep – especially in the days before your exam. Good sleep helps you remember what you learned. You can’t pull all-nighters and expect your brain to function properly.
And practice. And practice. Ask your teacher for a practice test. If there isn’t one, make your own. Create your own flash cards if that’s how you best learn. Answer your questions with friends! Remember, studying doesn’t always have to be repetitive, lame and boring; make good and creative use of your time!
Whenever a stressful thought pops into your head, replace it with a positive one. For example, replace “I’m going to fail this exam” with “I’m going to study early so I can ace this exam.” Try practicing deep breathing. Take a few deep breaths, breathing from deep within your abdomen and not just your chest. Let them out slowly. This will get more air into your lungs and help relax your whole body.
- Talk to someone
If you find that you’re still stressed, talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a parent, teacher, or friend. Sometimes all you need is a good listener. They can help you put things in perspective, or help find more ways to manage your stress.
- Use good test-taking technique
Scan each page of the exam before starting, to make sure you don’t miss any questions. This will also help you decide how much time you’ll need to complete it. Read all the instructions on the exam. Do the questions you can answer easily first; it will boost your confidence. Pace yourself. Use all your time in case you can remember an answer. If you have time, go back and review your answers. Remember the relaxation techniques you’ve learned. Bring some water.
And good luck on all your exams!