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Study Tips for the Exam Session

Exam season can bring on levels of stress and burnout that can hinder your studies. We have selected for you some handy tips on how to manage your study process and conquer your finals.

  1. Create your own study guide and schedule – and follow it.

Although having module books available, creating your own study guide can help you understand the subject better. Outlining the important information you need to learn can be helpful, both in creation and to refer to during your studies. Splitting the material into chucks you can actually achieve can be very beneficial. That way, you can keep track of what you’ve accomplished instead of looking at the big picture and getting overwhelmed.

  1. Take regular breaks and schedule in fun things to look forward to.

Even the most intense exam timetables will allow a little time for a study break. This can include 20-minute breaks during your revision day, and longer activities that you can look forward to. Go out for dinner with friends, go to the cinema, go out for a walk, or a run, or head to the gym or swimming pool, anything that you like doing in your spare time that will take your mind off exams. Spending a little time away from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed, relaxed and productive the next time you revise.

  1. Don’t (always) listen to others.

As the old saying goes: “comparison is the thief of joy”. While it is helpful to discuss topics with fellow students and often to revise together, try not to compare other peoples’ revision to your own. Chances are you’re doing just fine, and listening to other people talk about what they’ve learnt will only stress you out and may make you feel like you aren’t progressing as well as them. Plus, if they themselves are stressed this can rub off on to you and other people’s stress is not what you need right now.

  1. 4. Start early.

If you always start ahead of schedule, you’ll never be cramming the night before an exam. You’ll almost always perform better in doing so!

  1. 5. Organize a group study session.

It can be helpful to study in groups – sometimes. Evaluate whether or not studying with others will be beneficial to the subject as well at your learning process.

  1. 6. Stay well-rested.

There’s a lot to be said about a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’re well-rested so that you can be fully focused during your exams.

  1. 7. Quiz yourself.

If you think about and create actual exam questions, you will likely become more familiar with what you need to study and, in the meantime, familiarize yourself with the type of language that will be on the exam. Draft potential exam questions and quiz yourself so that you can set expectations of what you need to focus on.

  1. 8. Teach classmates.

Learning by teaching is a method that really works! If you work with a study buddy and explain concepts to one another, you’re re-learning the material all over again. It’s a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned and help someone in the meantime!

  1. 9. Make it fun.

It’s easier to focus if you adapt to studying by quizzing yourself, creating acronyms or rewarding yourself for a job well done. Create a game plan – literally – that allows you to accomplish tasks and be rewarded for each. For example, why not reward yourself with a piece of chocolate or a sip of your coffee after you’ve accomplished a new chapter or allow yourself five minutes of free time for every chunk of material you digest?

  1. Never get conquered by stress!

If you feel yourself lost, just follow some of the following quick ways to help eliminate exam stress:

  • Watch a film, a TV show or listen to a podcast or comedian that makes you laugh;
  • Drink some herbal tea or a hot chocolate. It’s a well known fact that hot drinks are known to soothe the soul (avoid too much caffeine though!).
  • A shower or a bath can help to relieve stress.
  • Cook or bake something. Just the thought of having something delicious to eat can bring you joy.
  • Get some sleep. The virtues of a good night’s sleep during exam season should not be underestimated.
  • Keep things in perspective. Yes, exams are important. But you are so much more than your exam results.
  • Write down everything you feel like you need to do and try and tick one thing off. Just the act of feeling like you are in control of your revision can help.
  • Avoid other stressed people. You know the ones we mean. The ones with cue cards outside of the exam hall, frantically trying to remember key facts and equations. They will do nothing for your stress levels.

And finally, do not forget! We believe in you! Always believe in yourself, too! Good luck to all VUM students!

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