Well, there is good news and… even better news! First, you are not the problem and you are definitely not alone in these feelings. Second, you may not be using the best technique to prepare yourself – an issue you can address by applying the seven easy strategies we have compiled below.
1. Begin early and plan your study sessions in advance:
The sooner you prepare for an exam, the more time you will have to absorb the content and get answers to questions from your professor or classmates. In the same way, it is crucial to schedule your studying sessions and commit to that schedule. Find a time where you usually feel more awake and make sure it doesn’t clash with soccer practice or the time of your favorite show so that you can focus your full attention.
2. Find a suitable place to study:
You wouldn’t eat in the bathroom or dance in the middle of a highway, would you? Similarly, preparing for an exam requires you to find an appropriate place free from distraction, one wherein you can truly focus. Thus, when possible, avoid studying in rooms where people may watch TV, play games, or have conversations. (And definitely do not study in bed!)
3. Create a schedule and stick to it:
Avoid jumping from one topic to the next without organization. That technique will only leave you confused and overwhelmed. Instead, list the topics you have to tackle to ace the exam and make a plan for when and how you will review them. In doing this, you will know what you have covered, what is left to review, and what you have to ask your teacher or TA per topic.
4. Try different studying techniques:
If sitting down and reading concepts makes your eyes water and your mind wander, then try reading the topics out loud as you walk around the room as if you were telling yourself a story. When done reciting, immediately sit down again and summarize what you have just learned. Other methods you can try include: creating mind maps, outlining what you are studying in your own words, recording yourself reading and actively listening, using flashcards, creating mnemonics, riddles, and similar mental tricks. There are endless possibilities. Take the time to find the one that works for you.
5. Use technology:
We don’t mean for you to go on social media and tell your followers what you have read every five minutes. We are saying that there are many mobile apps and free websites that can help you review different concepts in a fun way. Try solving quizzes online with Quizlet or Kahoot!, watch a Ted Talk, visit The LAB and review courses related to what you are studying, or check out websites such as NewsELA or BrainPop to explore articles on your exam subject. Trust us: Once you begin your journey through the many fun educational websites and apps out there, you are going to be asking Facewhat?
6. Take active breaks:
Just as important as sitting down and focusing is taking active breaks. Get up from your desk, go for a brisk walk, take a 20-minute nap, drink plenty of water, talk with a friend and do all you can to recharge so you can go back to studying with a fresh perspective and a well-rested brain. Cramming information for hours may actually leave you more confused and overwhelmed; however, including breaks in your studying schedule will ensure that you make the most of your studying sessions and take the time to truly comprehend the concepts.
7. Form a study group:
Studying with others has many advantages as you all have different abilities and can learn from each other. Moreover, following the simple tips we explained earlier in this blog post with group members can also help you achieve the perfect dynamic so that your study group is a success and all members achieve the best possible results.
Don’t panic! Exams are important. We understand that. However, there is no need to get anxious or sacrifice every free second you have to review. Follow the tips we’ve given you, stay organized, get plenty of rest, continue to have fun, practice mindfulness exercises, and most importantly, before you start the exam, take a deep breath and try your best!
Remember, all you can do is your best effort, and that’s enough. Good luck!
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