Exams are the most stressful time of the school year for students of all levels, across all faculties. All the pressure of the previous year gets focused into one point, where you have to prove yourself in just a few hours to represent all the hard work you’ve put in up until then. Many people don’t naturally perform well in exam settings, so don’t feel perturbed if this is you. You simply need to prepare, focus and relax as much as possible. There are ways you can study smart rather than hard to ensure you get the best results you can without working yourself to death.
- Spend the time during the school year to make exams easier. The most helpful thing you can do for your exam prep is to do yourself a multitude of favours throughout the year. Take notes that are easy to read and go back through, with the main points all highlighted. If there’s something you don’t understand, don’t leave it to later – if you do this, by the end of the year you’ll have a whole pile of new things you need to learn, not just revising the old. Tackle difficult concepts as soon as they appear.
- Start preparing for exams early. One of the things that causes a lot of people to not do as well as they could is simply lack of time. Once you get to the point where you’re asking “which of these things can I get away with not studying”, you’re going to miss your full potential. It also causes added stress and anxiety, which distracts from proper results. If you start early, you have plenty of time in case difficult topics pop up.
- Find out as much as you can about the exam before you sit it. Talk to your professor or teacher and see if you can pick up any hints, and go back over past exam papers. Of course, there’s always the possibility that anything studied over the year will come up, but if you notice patterns in previous questions it gives you a good focus for your studies. Some professors will be more giving with tips and information as well, as they want thoughtful replies rather than regurgitated facts.
- Go over the exam format, time and location. The more familiar you are, the more comfortable you will be. The last thing you want is not being sure what to do, or misunderstanding how to answer a question and having to re-do your work.
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Exams are a stressful time of year for all students, with an incredible number of demands all coming at once. The best thing you can do is to give yourself plenty of time, work out your study priorities and methodically make your way through the material.