Top 10 ways you can do well on your college exams

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survivalguide
By Marie Frankson

Campus News

December is here and that means final exams are right around the corner. If you’re like most college students, you’re starting to feel stressed out. Fear not, I have some tips for you for passing your final exams.

Planning is key: Take a few minutes out of your day to make a list of everything you need to do — from personal maintenance (eye brow waxing, haircut, teeth whitening, doctor’s appointment, etc.) to household chores to everything school-related (papers due, studying, test dates, etc.) In these last few days, time can slip away from you, so it’s important to plan ahead and keep track of everything.

Get plenty of sleep: Finals week is the time when a lot of college students think they can forgo sleep for studying, but that’s not the case. If your body’s not well-rested, then neither is your brain, and you can’t expect to operate at 100% come test day. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and avoid all-night cram sessions.

Set reasonable expectations: You can’t study non-stop until finals week is over; you have to be able to take breaks and recuperate, too. Be realistic when it comes to setting your expectations — study for an hour or two, not five or more; and then do something else, like eat, take a nap, and even spend some time with friends. You’ll still get the study time, and you’ll keep your sanity intact.

Take care of yourself: When finals week rolls around, and even before that, you need to treat your body kindly. Remember to eat healthily, get plenty of sleep, bathe, and exercise. To make sure you perform at your mental best you need to feel at your physical best.

Make outlines: When it comes to actually studying for your exams, making outlines can be a great way to do that. When you read over your textbook(s) and class notes, write a brief summary for each topic and include vocabulary words and definitions — without much effort, you created a tool to study from.

Ask for help: Sometimes professors can seem intimidating, but it’s important to ask for help if/when you need it. Your professors want you to succeed as much as you do, so be sure to talk to them before or after class or during their office hours to go over any material you just don’t understand.

Stay calm: At first glance, that exam can look pretty frightening. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Tests are designed to make you think, so first answer any questions you feel confident that you know and return to the ones you’re not sure about afterwards. Sometimes leaving something alone and coming back to it later can be beneficial and you’ll “get” it better on second glance.

Listen to music: It may seem like a distraction, but listening to music can help you remember facts about things while you study. Go on YouTube and search “study music,” and you will be surprised by all of the playlists made with music meant to calm you without distracting you from studying.

Do something: For those of you who may be kinesthetic learners, doing something like bouncing a ball, playing with your hair, or even taping your pen or pencil can help you retain information while you study.

Scent sense: It’s no secret that smells have a way of bringing memories back to us, so maybe this can be beneficial when added to your study habits. Associate smells with different subjects by studying with various foods near you. For example, baking cookies while you study, and then having a cookie at your desk while you take your exam (if you’re allowed to have food and drinks in your exam room) might be able to help you recall facts about the topic come test day, all thanks to the limbic system.

The above ten tips will help you be relaxed and ready to take on those final exams head-on. So, study hard, get plenty of rest, and follow these tips. Good luck everyone!

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