Exam times are stressful and hectic. I am currently in the midst of handing in papers and taking exams at university myself, and I feel like I am not the only one who finds the end of term very stressful with deadlines and exams. The other week I was having a conversation with a friend of mine going through all of the things I do before my exams start so I can get the best possible results for those exams. During that conversation I noticed that it was quite helpful to my friend and I thought that the tips that I gave my friend would also be helpful for you when you're having exams. So in this post I'll share a few tips and tricks with you that might help you study that tiny bit better for when you have your exams.
I guess you could divide this post into two sections, before the actual studying for an exam starts, and when you're in full on study mode because you're taking your exam. First off I will talk you through some tips that will help you study before you actually start studying and then I'll share of a few of my tips when I'm actually studying.
Before the actual studying begins:
Take notes in class
Taking notes in class is so important! Usually the teachers have a powerpoint presentation with all of the information on there, but what I like to do is that I also like to take notes of the things that they don't put in the powerpoint presentations. My professors at uni for example, forget to put examples in powerpoints every now and again. By writing down whatever they say, and actually writing down these examples, I feel like I understand the material so much better!
I remember that I already took notes in class when I was just in my first year of high school. Most of the people in my class were just looking at the board and listening to the teacher, but I actually also took notes, which will definitely help you during the end of your term, when you will have to take a test or an exam.
Plan ahead of time
Like I mentioned in my 'How I stay organized' post, planning is everything, especially when you're in college or university! I physically write down all of the exams on the dates that I have to take them and then start planning when to start studying for these exams. If I don't do this somewhere halfway through the term, I end up feeling very anxious and stressed about when I have to start studying.
You usually know when you have to take your exam either at the beginning of your term or about halfway through the term. Always check when your exams are planned somewhere along the fourth week of your term, write them down and write down what you have to know for that exam (what chapters do you have to study, all of the powerpoints that a teacher puts online e.g.). Because you have written this all down, you can kind of see how long it will take you to study for one chapter of a book and then you'll know how far in advance you will have to start studying for your exams!
When you're in complete study mode:
What helps me most is that I write summaries of all the books that I have to study for. Because a book can get quite overwhelming, I find that a summary can really help you understand some of the material so much faster! I usually like to start writing summaries 2/3 weeks before my exam starts, then I underline the important lines in a book and type up a summary. After I have finished typing up these summaries, it's all that I study for an exam. I go through my summaries a few times and then take the exam.
A little tip that I would give you is to really write summaries, with a pen on paper. That's how you adopt most of the material and unintentionally already am memorizing the material that you're supposed memorize for your exams. However, if you're in uni or college like I am, and are supposed to know three books per class, it can get quite much to write dow all of your summaries with pen and paper. So what I like to do then is write them on my laptop, so it's less time consuming and I can get the 'writing down' done quicker.
Take breaks in between your study sessions
This is probably the most important tip that I have learned along the way. Taking a break is so important when you're studying. After studying a few hours, your brain gets fried, you start to get tired and your eyes might get dry. That's when you know that you're actually already too late with taking a break from studying. Take a break, go outside, get some fresh air, grab yourself some food or just sit there staring into the distance. Taking a break doesn't have to be long, you could study an hour and then take a five minute break and then go back to studying. Just make sure you have the discipline to take a break and then start studying again!
Wear comfy clothes
If you read this blog, then you know that I am a big lover of always wearing comfy clothes. However, when I am studying, I want to wear the comfiest clothes that I own. You don't want to look all uncomfortable in a library when you're studying.
You can really tell when it's exam time when you're with me. Whenever I go into full exam mode, I end up looking like a hobo. Including the greasy hair, paired with sportleggings or my pyjama's while studying. I feel like wearing comfortable clothes doesn't distract you from what you're actually doing: studying, because your top isn't itchy or your trousers aren't that tiny bit too tight, you're wearing your hobo clothes and nothing can distract you from studying!
Listen to classical music
Listening to clasical music definitely can help you focus on your studies. Especially when you hate silent rooms, have loud neighbors, construction workers or roommates! I feel like listening to classical music actually helps me understand the material better. I feel like I take in much more material because I hate complete silence when I'm working/studying. But putting on your favourite playlist might actually end up with you singing along to a song, which probably isn't what you're supposed to do.
This last tip is one that I kind of stole from my cousin. My cousin is a few years older than me and I feel like she is really good at studying. So whenever I heard her talk about how much she had to study or something along those lines, I always listened in on what she doest when she studies, to try those tips myself.
So those are all of the tips that I wanted to share with you in todays post. I really hope these tips are helpful to some of you!
Now I am going back to studying myself, because I've been procrastinating way too much today already! Happy kind of studying!