Are you on the brink of exam-season? Midterms? Breakdowns? Depression? Under heaps of stress? Don’t you worry, you’re not alone. Here’s a few tips and tricks you can do to prepare and get your shit together before midterms.
- Get in the right mind-set.
This is something I personally struggle with; getting in the right mindset for exams. Sometimes it doesn’t even sink in that exam season is upon us until I’ve perhaps failed my first exam.
Firstly, I’d suggest momentarily suspending your apps, if not deleting them so that your brain can register that something serious is upon you, something that requires deleting one of your favourite pastimes and entertainment sources.
Secondly, I’d suggest talking about exams. Talk to friends about exam schedules, times tables, preparation methods and so on and so forth. This will help put exams in the forefront of your mind. When we speak about doing things, a lot of times, we start wanting to do them, and bam! You’re studying for exams.
Thirdly, start writing to- do lists and drawing up revision schedules. Writing things in front of you will send signals to the brain, urging it, and you, to start working on them and completing them. Whatever you do though, DON’T say that you’ll remember what you have to do and that it isn’t important to write things down, more often than not, you won’t remember and/ or will not be motivated enough to want to start working on it, which brings me to my next tip.
- Find motivation and reward yourself.
I personally, very cliché of me, I know, have a list of reasons why I want to and should study well and get good grades. In this list, I have the most important things in my life, goals and dreams that really matter to me, like living life with no regrets and doing what I know I’m capable of doing. Every time I don’t feel like studying, I look at this list and begrudgingly start working again.
Also, something that is of extreme importance, and I cannot stress this enough, DON’T RUN AWAY OR PROCRASTINATE.
You know what you have to do, you know that you have to do it, but you’re procrastinating.
What happens? You waste time, neither studying nor enjoying yourself; you’re going to be too busy thinking of all the things you have to do, that you haven’t done, depleting your emotional capacity, draining your mind. So much so, that when you do get up to study, you’re too tired to actually work. Now, not only have you wasted a perfectly good day to relax, but you’ve also wasted a full day of revising or studying. If you ask me, that is such a huge misuse of time, so why do it at all?
Besides all that, don’t forget to divide your tasks into smaller, less daunting assignments.
When you want to start studying, don’t say, I’ll finish my biology curriculum today, say you’ll finish a set number of chapters or lectures, maybe even take 1 lecture per day. When you do that, it seems less stressful, more accomplishable and much much easier. More is definitely not better in this case.
- Prioritise, focus and speak up.
Finally, after having completed your list of things to do, prioritise, and order stuff according to what is more important, what is due earlier, or what is most difficult. Doing so will help you center in on what you want to do first and what you need to get over with, not to mention that it will take off a lot of emotional baggage and weight.
When you start working, focus and don’t try to multitask, this will improve the quality of your work or will make the information you’re trying to learn stick better. Don’t try focusing on something else, like the lyrics of the song you’re probably playing in the background, I’d even advise only playing music and not lyrical songs to help pivot your attention to one thing.
Last but not least, speak up when you need help. Teachers are always there for you to answer questions, it is literally their job. Your friends are also there. If you have a friend that understands a concept that you don’t, there is absolutely no shame in asking them for help or clarification of that thing. There’s this stigma around asking for help, something about seeming weak when you do it or some bullshit like that, but really, that’s all it is, a bunch of bullshit.
All in all, just concentrate on your work, get in the studying mind- set, and don’t forget to take breaks.