5 Tips to Survive Exam Week
Ciao lovelies! Today’s post is about exams. Groan, I know. Nobody likes being reminded of these little demons on paper. But every college, and some high schools, have exams. So how do we get through exam week with our brains intact? Without having mental breakdowns? Without dropping out of school?
Okay, but all exaggerations aside, exam week is one of the most stressful weeks for a college student. Aside from studying, planning out the exam schedule, and crying, you also get stressed about things like “Okay, if I bomb this exam but get an A on this one, what will my GPA be once I get back from my mental breakdown trip into LaLaLand?” and you know what, same. This semester’s been killer for me, and I’ve been stressing about my GPA the most. So every exam this time feels like the “Make it or break it” exam of the century.
So how can we survive the most stressful time and stay in college another year? Well I’ve got 5 tips to make exam week less stressful and hopefully lower the anxiety/panic attacks of college students everywhere.
Tip #1- Studying Makes a Difference
I’m sure all upperclassmen college students know this, but for freshies like me, this might be news. Many of us in high school never had to study because we weren’t being properly challenged in our courses. So some of us don’t even know how to study for exams. But trust me, studying helps. I was getting 70’s on my exams in Bio and didn’t know why, then I tried studying and got a 91. Studying is so good.
But, if you’re like me and didn’t learn how to do it in high school, it can be tough to learn it in college. Lucky for us, there are several established methods of studying that seem to work like a charm. Now, every person is different and responds to different study methods differently, so I’d advise finding the one that works for you. But here are a few popular ones.
Making things into little phrases or songs seems to help most people. Music is a very good study tool, as it can be associated with anything and easy to remember.
Instead of sitting around studying for three, four hours straight, try this approach. Study for 10, 15, or 20 minutes, then take a five minute break. Repeat. During the five minute break, don’t do anything mentally strenuous. Play with some slime, or color in an adult coloring book. Relax. Maybe listen to music. Then return to studying. Quiz yourself on what you studied during the last period. This method is super popular due to it’s effects on memory. This technique was first popularized by a language teacher named Mark Frobose in the 1970’s, and people still use it, though altered in times.
Another great memory trick is by association. Using the same type of pencil while studying and taking the exam can help greatly. Some people swear by the method of chewing the same bubble gum flavor while studying and while taking the exam. Others swear by wearing the same sweatshirt or jewelry. I think this is a placebo effect for your brain, but it seems to be effective. So try at your own discretion!
Tip #2- Sleep isn’t for the Weak
Yes, I understand you have a lot of papers due and studying to do and such. No I don’t think you should pull 2 all-nighters in a row and pass out on a couch in your lounge holding your study guide for an exam.
Listen. I get it, it’s hard to fit in all the things you need to do over this stressful week and still get enough time to sleep and eat. And you may be tempted to skip the things your body needs to keep going. DON’T!
If it’s absolutely necessary for you to stay up as late as humanly possible, arrange to take 20 minute naps whenever possible. 20 minutes is the ideal short nap time. It puts you through a light REM sleep and will help you feel refreshed and energized.
Tip #3- Have a Plan
When you have a plan, you’re less stressed about what’s to come because you know what’s coming. If your school is like mine, and lets you choose when you take your exams, plan out what days and times you’ll be taking each exam. This will help you also set up your study schedule. Know where you are taking each exam as well. This will also help reduce stress, if you know when and where you’re going.
Tip #4- Be Ready
Preparation is never a bad trait to have. For each exam you’re taking, know what you CAN, SHOULD, and WILL bring with you. Knowing what you CAN bring will make sure you don’t take in anything you aren’t allowed to have. Knowing what you SHOULD bring will help you decide what you WILL bring.
The standard for most exams I take is 2 pencils, 2 Pens, scratch paper, and potentially a calculator. I bring notes/a textbook if allowed, and the official exam card from the school, as well as my keys.
I NEVER bring my phone to the exam site. On the off chance you accidentally get past the test people and have it in the room with you, you could have it go off and get in trouble. Or you leave it in the bin outside and pray that nobody takes it. Neither of those options sound good to me, so I just leave my phone in my dorm room.
Tip #5- Breathe
Give yourself time to calm down and relax. Getting worked up and nervous before tests is never going to do any good. If you have testing anxiety, try some anxiety relieving practices, like meditation or aromatherapy before you leave for the test. Wear some lavender oil under your nose or on your neck if you can. Lemon/citrus scents help as well. Try also reminding yourself about the things you did to prepare. Knowing that you prepared for the test will help to calm you.
If all else fails, try to chew gum or eat something before the test. The act of chewing will turn off your fight or flight response, since the body knows you wouldn’t be eating if you were in danger.
http://workawesome.com/productivity/study-hacks/ (Tons of great study tips!)
https://sleep.org/articles/how-long-to-nap/ (Length of ideal naps!)
Everything else was common knowledge.
Thank you for reading! I hope this post will help those of you who are anxious about exams coming up.
Good luck on your exams, and good vibes are being sent your way! I know you can ace these tests and pass with flying colors!
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Thank you very much for reading, and I’ll see you in tomorrow’s post!