Written By: Mariam (Marketing Director)
Exclusively for WIB.
It’s that time of the semester again (sigh)…last-minute late night cramming, three cups of coffee, binge eating and telling people that you’re studying when you’re actually not. We’ve all been there, and if I had a dollar for every time I said I would be more organised next time, well I think I’d be able to pay my way through life without a degree.
However, that’s not to say you can’t improve your ways. I for one was a late night crammer, but instead, I found that distributing learning over time led to long-term retention. So how did I improve my exam preparation approach? All it took was a few simple steps, regime and dedication.
Here are five tips that I use to prepare for exams!
- Prepare a study schedule
To prepare a study plan… this is an obvious but effective tip if done right. In order to create a plan that you’ll be able to stick to, there are some important steps to follow:
- Clear your normal schedule, by minimising work and social events and create a schedule based on “study sessions”
- Each study session should be allocated a start time, break-time and end-time, so that you can ensure you have allocated enough study to a subject
- Divide your study material for each subject into small segments and assign them to a study session.
More importantly, it’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to studying, it is always quality over quantity. You can spend hours trying to study for something, but if you don’t use the right techniques and use your study sessions efficiently, you are most likely setting yourself up to fail.
- Organise your study space & cut back on all distractions
Nothing is less conducive to study than a chaotic workspace. In fact, studies have shown that having multiple visual stimuli present within the range of one’s view can actually make one easily distracted.
We’ve all heard the saying “a clear desk is a clear mind”. This saying is particularly relevant as the decluttering of one’s workspace can reduce stress and instead, increase efficiency. Therefore, it is significant to have a clear study space. This means removing all unnecessary stationary and only keep the resources you will need on your desk.
If you’re choosing to study at uni, you may choose to have alternate study spots. Sometimes, alternating between study spots can help you refocus and work more efficiently and effectively.
- Procrastinate better
Is that even possible? Well, you can if you procrastinate by doing something that releases your inner passion. I simply try to find something that inspires me, whether reading an article on a topic of interest. Finding something that inspires you can in effect, motivate you and encourage you to turn back to your work.
But more importantly, if you’re procrastinating simply because you’re “stressed” or you’re unsure how to approach a specific topic, this is the time to start asking questions. It’s better to ask for help than to sit around and kill time until it’s too late. Your lecturers, tutorial teachers and friends are an email/message away from helping you understand something better. So if you’re thinking about procrastinating…think of something that’s motivating or simply ask for help if you’re avoiding a difficult topic.
- Snack on superfoods
During exams we find ourselves eating and drinking much more than usual. This is because we are either stressed or sitting for long periods of time thus needing to refuel every few hours. Unfortunately, as students we can’t help but snack on the bad things. We drink a lot more caffeine and food high in sugar, sourcing the wrong food for energy. However, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine and food high in sugar can actually lead to burnout – leaving us tired and sometimes even more hungry.
To retain information better, you require brain food. That is, food packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals while also relying heavily on water and limiting your caffeine intake. Essentially, eating well is good for your mental health and can boost your brainpower significantly.
- Listen to your body and mind
While students (at least the most of us) thrive on last-minute cramming, it is actually not the best way to approach an exam. In fact, you’re more likely to forget everything when you’re trying to retain excessive amounts of information in a short-period of time
Getting eight hours of sleep is very important and something you should get your body used to at least a few weeks before exam period. Sufficient sleep is vital to feeling and performing your best as your body thrives on good sleep to function properly.
Remember: Get sleep! & Avoid the all-nighter!