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Tips On How To Productively Prepare For Exams

Exam season is fastly approaching, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the notes and information you need to know. Here are some ways to help avoid the stress and to productively prepare for your upcoming exams:

1. Flash Cards

This is a totally understated form of studying. Go to any dollar store and buy a couple packs of these bad boys—they work miracles for memorizing terms, dates, names, etc. I like to colour code mine according to topic/chapter/etc. to help compartmentalize them in my memory.


2. Study With Friends But Also Find Time to Study Alone

Studying with friends or other people in the class can make life easier but it can also make studying not that productive. By all means, find times to get together with people to review notes but make sure to also review your notes on your own. Sometimes study groups can just be too distracting.


3. Meet With Your Professor

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the exam outline and you just don’t know where to start, go see your prof: believe it or not, they don’t create exams to screw you over—they want you to succeed. I’ve found meeting with profs one-on-one makes them feel more inclined to drop obvious hints because you’re showing initiative and proving that you want to do well.


4. Take (Productive) Breaks

And by productive I don’t mean binge watching your favourite shows on Netflix (I know we’re all guilty of this). However, you don’t want to be sitting at a desk for hours on end studying because you’ll burn yourself out, so try to find things to do that will help keep you focused. I find the most effective thing to do is to go for a walk, even if it’s just around the block. The fresh air helps clear your mind and reminds you that there’s more to your life than study notes and textbooks.


5. Eat Healthy Snacks/Meals

I know when I’m studying I often forget to eat, and it’s not until I’m starving that I get up to grab food. As a result, I eat stuff that’s accessible and often very unhealthy. Just as you should be taking productive breaks, make sure to take time out of studying to properly feed yourself, even if it’s a bowl of grapes or cheese and crackers. Although your brain will be focused on studying, your body will be focused on its hunger, which will subsequently negatively impact your brain power. Keep yourself properly nourished!


6. Do NOT Pull All-Nighters

Lack of sleep is probably the worst thing before an exam. Even if you manage to cram a ton of information into your brain over the wee hours of the night, none of it will matter if you end up falling asleep on your exam booklet. Make sure to have a proper night’s rest before writing an exam—it will give your brain time to digest the information you’ve studied, as well as give it a nice, much-needed break.


7. Have a Positive Attitude

If you convince yourself you’re going to fail the exam, you probably will. Remember, mind over matter. Make sure to remind yourself that an exam doesn’t measure your worth as a human being. At the end of the day, it’s just an exam and you will continue living. Feeling anxious or defeated will only make it all harder.


Good luck with exams everyone!


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Chapter Advisor for Her Campus and Junior Editor/Writer for Her Campus at Western. You can typically find me in the world of English literature.
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