Tips on Studying for Exams

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It doesn’t matter if you are a first-year student or about to graduate, studying for exams can be a painful and incredibly stressful experience. With that in mind, the Baron has compiled some helpful tips on how to manage stress and study for upcoming finals effectively.

Keep track of due dates and exams on a calendar. Get out a calendar and write down the dates of your exams, as well as due dates for final assignments and take home exams. Knowing how much time you have between each assignment and exam helps determine when you will have time to study and what to study first.

Rewrite notes. Start with the exam that comes first. Read and/or rewrite class notes, particularly those that you know will be on the exam. Re-reading and the process of writing supposedly help store information in your brain longer. Some students find that studying with flashcards and a friend is helpful too.

Take regular breaks. If at any point during your studies you begin to feel stressed, it’s always better to take a break. Go for a walk—do something active to get the blood flowing and put your body at ease. Always try to keep yourself energized by eating well and drinking lots of water (all that coffee is dehydrating). When you are more calm, relaxed, and well-rested, well-hydrated, and well-fed, you can return to your studies and you will retain more information than studying while anxious or stressed.

Don’t be afraid to switch between subjects. Find that spending too long on one subject is making things worse? Feel free to switch to another class when your brain gives up on the other. You won’t retain any information if you are frustrated or bored.

Treat yo’self. Another useful tip is rewarding yourself when you get to a certain chapter or section in your notes. Have that piece of chocolate. Watch a YouTube video. Have a glass of wine.

Honourable mentions. Some believe that chewing a piece of gum while studying, then the same flavour while taking the exam, helps the brain remember what it was you had read or written. You can also try using the same coloured pen to write the exam that you used while studying. It’s always worth a shot!

Ask for help or talk it out. If you need any help with time or stress management, feel free to chat with one of the many helpful counsellors on the bottom floor of Oland Hall. They have some valuable information to help you manage your time and stress, and to help you study for those exams.

And don’t forget about your professors! Ask questions like, “what are the major topics that will be covered on the exam?” It doesn’t hurt to ask, and professors are there to help. Take advantage of their office hours, review classes and D2L while preparing for exams.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.