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HC Guide to Surviving Exams

All nighters, frozen dinners and 12 hour study sessions at Weldon; welcome to the most stressful time of the year! Now that exams are here, the HC team has you covered! This week we’ll give you some tips on how to maximize your study sessions, stay healthy and prepare for your exams.

The days leading up to the exam...

  1. Follow your schedule: If you read last week’s guide to preparing for exams, we stressed the need for
    a schedule. If you haven’t already, make that schedule now! Knowing what you need to study and when will help you focus, stay on track with exam content and save you time. Read our article from last week on how to prepare the most effective schedule. Once you have a schedule, make sure you follow it! Don’t deviate from the schedule too much. Following your schedule will ensure that by the time your exam rolls around, you’re ready and won’t have to pull an all-nighter!
  2. Study in chunks: Don’t sit down to study for a 3 hour session with no breaks, you’ll exhaust your brain and chances are, your mind will wander! To maximize your study session, study in 40 minute chunks and then take a 5-10 minute break. My high school counsellor gave me this tip and I use it effectively to this day. When you know you only have to study for 40 minutes, it helps you concentrate because you know there’s a break at the end of the tunnel! Make sure you only take a 10 minute break though, not an hour long one!
  3. Three’s a crowd: Lots of people like the idea of a study group or studying with friends. I would advise against it. Studying in big groups of people can be distracting and counter-intuitive; you’ll be tempted to talk and hang out with the group rather than study! However, studying with one friend can be helpful s you can test each other, ask questions and help each other out. More than one study buddy can lead to trouble!
  4. Take a break: All work and no play makes Jack an exhausted boy! Exam season protocol calls for 16 hours of studying and 8 hours of sleep with nothing in between. As counter intuitive as this sounds, don’t follow this norm! Studying is stressful; after you’ve completed an effective study session, give yourself a break. With all the studying and stress you’re going to be dealing with, you need some time to relax and rejuvenate. Schedule in some time to relax every day, even if it’s
    just an hour. You could catch up on a show or a movie, take a long bath while reading your favourite magazine or go out to a dinner with friends.
  5. Stay healthy: For most students, exams mean frozen dinners and Timmies runs, 6 hours of sleep and moving into the library. Staying healthy during exams is a key component of successful studying. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night so your brain can function properly. Another good idea is to stay active, go to the gym or go for a run; an active mind is a healthy mind! And don’t forget to eat properly, exams are not an excuse to eat burgers and cookies all day. For quick and easy recipes, check out our article on how to stay healthy during exams.

The day before the exam...

  1. Review: Review your notes and do some exercises or past exams. Do not leave a lot of new material to study on this day; this will only stress you out. If you have to, leave one new chapter to study the day before at the most.
  2. Highlight important points: Whilst reviewing your notes, write down important facts or formulas on another sheet that you might forget and want to review before the exam. Don’t make it too long because this is just for review.
  3. Get a good night's sleep: I have pulled my fair share of all nighters and we all know they are never a good idea! Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep before an exam so you wake up fresh. Material studied before bed is the most easily recalled.
  4. Get everything you need: Make sure you have everything you might need for your exam; enough 2B pencils, erasers, pens, rulers, a calculator and most importantly, your student card. Get all your stuff together so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning.

The day of the exam...

  1. Don’t cram: don’t cram during the last moments before an exam; this will only make you panic and lead to test anxiety. Review the last minute notes you made and go over it a few times in the morning or just before the exam. This will help improve your performance on the test
  2. Eat: make sure to have breakfast and balanced meal before your exam. Try and stay away from caffeine and foods high in sugar that might make you crash during your exam. For recipes and tips, read our article on eating healthy during exams. 
  3. Get there early: make sure you know the exact time and place of your exam and try getting there early, if you’re hurrying to get to your exam on time, you might get flustered and anxious.
  4. Stay calm: when you’re in the exam room, take a deep breath. At this point you’ve done everything you can. Stay calm and know you’re doing the best you can!

Good luck collegiettes!

Rida is a fourth year student at the University of Western Ontario and is extremely excited about the opportunity to bring Her Campus to London! She recently changed her major from Finance to English Literature after finally realizing what she wanted to do with her life. Having spent her whole life in the Middle East (Dubai and Saudi Arabia) Rida had no choice but to grow up a shopaholic! Having shifted from the desert to the great ice box that is Canada, she still finds it difficult to adjust to the freezing weather. In her spare time, Rida likes reading, watching way too many shows, stuffed crust pizza and,of course, shopping! Her aspirations are to one day live in Paris and be a writer for Vogue.
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