How To Stay On Top Of Your Game This Exam Season

The dreaded time is officially upon us. The papers have piled up. The overdue assignments are starting to lurk above your head. Nights in Du Bois are getting longer. It’s exam season. For most of us this means stressful days and sleepless nights, but there are ways to tackle your midterms and finals without completely draining yourself. Follow these simple tips, and I can assure you, you will be scoring an A on your next exam.


Invest in an Agenda

If you don’t already use an agenda, you’re doing it wrong. Agendas are essential to staying on top of all your assignments, whether they're exams, papers, or homework. Using an agenda is also the first step to getting organized—the most crucial component to crushing all your exams. When I write in my agenda, I like to color-code my different classes and highlight the important assignments. This way, I can see a clear difference between my classes and I can prioritize what's important, making my workload a little less overwhelming as a whole. During exam season, different colored pens and highlighters are going to become your best friends. Having a place to visually see you assignments and when they're due will definitely relieve your stress tremendously. And besides, the number one way to remember something is by writing it down!  

Use A Calendar

Just like an agenda, a calendar is extremely helpful during times when you have a heavy workload. Most college students are involved in more than just classes; clubs, jobs, and sports are all additional activities which can add even more stress, so it is important to have a space to write down important dates and times. Personally, at the beginning of every week or month, I like to fill out my calendar with everything from exam dates and times to fitness classes, appointments, club meetings, important dates, special events, etc. Being able to see all of this visually, in one clean layout, allows me to plan out my weeks ahead of time, so I am not cramming everything last minute.



Take Advantage of Your Resources

Although sometimes it may not feel like it, all of your professors want to see you succeed. UMass does a great job at making sure students are given the proper resources in order to succeed, but it is your job to take advantage of them and use them wisely. For example, located in the LRC is the tutoring center. If there is a class that you have been struggling with all semester, and you have no idea how you are going to pass the exam, my biggest suggestion to you is to get a tutor. Being able to have that one-on-one time to ask any of your questions or get any clarification you may need to pass the exam is incredibly beneficial. Another resource to use is your classmates, believe it or not! Setting up study sessions with your fellow classmates can be one of the best ways to study, because you are able to ask each other questions and feed off of each other's ideas. It also makes studying a little less lonely and therefore a little more enjoyable. There are so many places and people on campus that can help you, it’s up to you to be willing to find them.

Quizlet is Your Best Friend

I cannot even count how many times Quizlet has saved my butt for an exam. You can use it to make your own “virtual” flashcards to quiz yourself. Plus, it's also a system of thousands of users, some of whom may have already created the exact set of flashcards you need. Quizlet also allows you to study those flashcards in various ways, so you can really test yourself to see how well you know the subject. Not only is there Quizlet but there are other free online tools designed to help students succeed. GoConqr is a site dedicated to organizing all of your classes and providing free resources to study from. Through your account, you can study resources, take notes, watch slides, make flashcards and then test your knowledge on what you learned through provided quizzes. It is everything you need when it comes to studying, all in one place.

Always Put Your Health First and Keep a Positive Mindset

Unfortunately enough when people think about exam season, they only focus on getting a good grade, and too often overlook their well being. Not getting enough sleep and over stressing, can often wreak havoc on the body’s immune system, and your overall mental health. I can promise you there is no grade or assignment that is more important than your physical and mental health. Don’t stress. No matter what happens, you will ultimately get that diploma and score that dream job in the end. Take time in the middle of the stressful chaos to take a deep breath and remember that. Eat your three meals a day, drink plenty of water, try to sleep at least eight hours a night, find ways to de-stress when you need it, and just breath; you got this!  



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Images: 1, 2: courtesy of the author, 3