It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
For you to truly enjoy the upcoming holiday break, make sure to take a look at my personalized do’s and don’ts list. Hopefully it will help you get through that final fall term exam hurdle. We can do it!
DO spend at least a little time each day studying the subjects for which you have exams! Even if you spend just fifteen minutes looking over a particularly complicated concept, give every course time. Your brain can only take in so much information per day, so trying to cram everything into the last minutes probably won’t go so well. Instead, if you do a little over a longer period of time, you’re sure to remember more information. Which will certainly help – especially if your exam has lots of multiple choice questions.
DO take frequent (but reasonably long) breaks! Believe it or not, even when under exam stress, you still need to eat, drink water, and have down time. Even if you just take ten minutes out of a long day of studying to eat a decent meal and scroll through facebook, it’s worth something! Trust me, a little break will give you a chance to de-stress a little, and to stay (somewhat) healthy as well!
DO sleep (or try to sleep) for seven to eight hours before your exam! I know that’s not always easy. Me, I usually become a vampire the night before a big exam – night falls and am I ever awake. But, that doesn’t mean I give up on resting! So, if you can manage it, go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep before the exam. And if you’re like me, too stressed to sleep, at least lay down and rest for a bit. Having some sort of rest might allow your mind to work a little more smoothly – too many hours without sleep does not do anything good to the brain.
DO complete the suggested review provided by your professors or TAs. This probably won’t apply to every course, but if it applies to one of yours, make the best of it! And even if the review is looking through old exams for the course, do use what is provided by people who know what might be on the exam. Better yet, if your course has an exam jam or some sort of exam study session, take advantage of it!
DO ask questions when you need to – whether you ask your friends in the course, or you email your professors or your TA. Be sure to clear up anything you’re uncertain about, or at least try to do so. After all, having clear information on everything your exam is about will surely help you answer your exam questions! And, if you are the kind of person who really likes to ask a lot of questions, make use of office hours and study with a classmate!
DON’T pull a bunch of consecutive all-nighters. NO! Do not do it – even if the library is open all through the night, you don’t necessarily make use of those extended hours. One night without sleep isn’t great, but doing it a few times in a row? It’s not a good plan, friend! Instead, leave yourself plenty of time during the day to study, so you can get your sleep in at night.
DON’T binge watch a television series or a bunch of movies online. Maybe a few episodes here and there isn’t too bad, and a movie on a Saturday night won’t do any harm. But watching an entire series instead of studying is a no-go. Take it from someone who’s done it – I watched the entirety of The Office during my grade 12 exams last year and it didn’t do much good for my studying. I crammed and ended up a lot more stressed than I should have been. So, words of wisdom, Netflix is not your friend during exam time.
DON’T change your normal healthy habits dramatically. Part of staying mentally and physically well is being somewhat consistent, especially with your better habits. Exam time is not a time to mess with those sorts of things. Changing things around might give you additional stress, cause short-term health troubles, or might just distract from study time. So, be sure to keep things fairly consistent. Change is something to save for the new year, believe it or not.
DON’T come late for your exams. In fact, come early for your exams, give yourself time to get there (especially if you commute – account for traffic or late public transit). And remember too that exams start on the hour, not ten minutes after – which means if your exam is at 9:00, then it will start at 9:00, not 9:10 like a class might. Every minute late is a minute lost for exam writing, so be sure to get there in a timely fashion.
DON’T be too stressed out about it! Easier said than done, right? But, if it somehow is possible, try not to be too worried about your exams, because I am sure you will do awesomely! Don’t let the ‘Big Exam Scariness’ get to you, because at the end of the day, an exam is just a long-form quiz. It counts for a lot, sure, but if you keep calm and remember not to get intimidated, maybe some of the stress will go away. Either way, do your best, and best of luck!