14 Tips for Students to Survive a University Exam

Maybe you won’t be glad to hear about it again, but the season of exams is coming, and you don’t have much time. We went through a lot in January: the end of Christmas celebrations, attempts to quit alcohol and start dieting, squeezed bank accounts, and so on. However, January is ready for the most painful punch.

Before you started worrying, let’s chill for a second and think how you can do your best on exams. We decided to give you some useful tips, so you could use your energy effectively.

  1. Don’t procrastinate. Generally, procrastination is a will to do later something that you could do earlier. Most students suffer from such a problem, and it is the main reason why many of them fail on exams. Focus on your task, and try to start working as soon as you wake up. Make a coffee, open your laptop, grab your books and make sure that all your work will be done before evening.
  2. Stay healthy. You won’t be able to focus on work if your body is suffering. Don’t eat fatty food, sugar, and various fast food. Drink water to stay hydrated. Find the time to work out and take care of your body. As the Romans said, a healthy mind in a healthy body.
  3. Sleep more. To stay healthy, you have to sleep. It sounds obvious, but you have to give your body a necessary amount of sleep. 8 hours are best. Good sleep increases your brain activity and helps manage stress.
  4. Study along with others. The most common image of a student is somebody sitting all alone and reading books. Remember that it’s not the only possible way to prepare for exams. Cooperate with other students who have the same goals as you and who want to pass exams well. Working in a group helps you understand what exactly you have to study better, it allows you to compare various information and evaluate your knowledge. Prepare quizzes for each other and test each other’s knowledge with the most difficult questions. The only thing to remember – make sure that your team is really interested in studying, and you won’t just have fun.
  5. Forget about pubs. There are two major types of students: those who care about their future and those who don’t. Make sure that you’re in the first group. Some students think that they have studied before so now it’s time to hit the pubs. You also may have friends who invite you to join them. Just tell them that you can’t. You will have the time for it later, but now you have to accomplish your important tasks.
  6. Isolate yourself in a good way. Web surfing and various social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat can suck much more of your time than you expect. Sometimes you just want to check your news feed, and at the next moment, you just wonder how a couple hours have passed. These websites won’t go anywhere if you take a break. Focus on your exams and return to the online communication after you get your high grades.
  7. Let your tablet or phone help you. Social media isn’t the only function of your mobile device. Some apps may turn out to be quite useful for your work. If you already have found such useful apps, use them, but don’t waste your time searching for something new that could help you. However, becoming analog isn’t bad too. You can always rely on index cards to remember important information.
  8. You have enough time. Some of the most productive people just use the time that is wasted by others. For example, Umberto Eco worked everywhere: waiting in a line, being on a train, or waiting for other people. There was a writer who’s managed to write a novel while waiting for his spouse to get ready to go out. Every time when you wait, you can open your laptop and work. You can read your notes or index cards while standing in a line in a shop, just don’t waste this time.
  9. Find your right environment. You need a right place and you have to take this problem seriously. Some people are most productive in a completely quiet room, others like noise or music. Just make sure that you don’t change locations all the time. Create a good place to work and stay there when studying.
  10. Trust no one. Quite often, before the exams, you may hear various wrong rumors. For example, people may say that you don’t have to worry about certain topics. Some of them are just misinformed; others try to sabotage efforts of other students intentionally. Verify any information and don’t rely on rumors unless they have been proved.
  11. Prepare your own exam. Make a little exam for yourself. It’s the most effective way to prepare for real exams. Imagine yourself a mean professor who knows all your weak points. Ask yourself the most complicated questions, and prepare yourself this way several times. If you’re studying in a group, make an exam for each other.
  12. Forget what you know. All information in our brains can be divided into three groups: information that we remember and unlikely to forget, information that we may confuse in stressful moments or forget sometimes, and information that we don’t know (or even don’t realize that we don’t know). While working with your cards or similar mobile apps, don’t waste your time on repeating and recalling things that you know well. Learn more about what you don’t know and make sure that you know all your weak points.
  13. Dig into it. Find similar exams of the previous course or the same exams from another school. Ask your teacher if he or she can share some old exams with you. Look for similar exams on the internet. You have to know what you are preparing for, and we suggest searching for such examples in advance.
  14. The early bird catches the worm. The truth is, the sooner you start preparing, the better your exams might be. If you have a few weeks to prepare, don’t waste this time and wait until a few days before the exam. Maybe you think that the fresh material will be recalled easier, but it’s a mistake. You will remember it only if you over-learn it. Any information should be memorized, so take your time and study.

Additional Tip: Get Help if You Need

Sometimes students cannot cope with stressful situations while preparing for exams. Many of them even suffer from depression, anxiety, or fear. Don’t ignore such things, because they can become a serious problem for you. Instead, get help. There are many services for university students that help people like you overcome stresses, cope with their emotions, and work effectively. Don’t be too shy to ask for help.

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