As the Autumn semester slowly but surely comes to an end, students around Australia can begin to get excited about crossing another 24 credit points off their degree. Although the mere idea of this is reason enough to throw an out-of-this-world party, it’s probably best to hold off popping bottles for a few more weeks. My fellow students, let us not forget that the end of semester also means exams.
As a Communications student, I am #blessed with not having to face all-nighters, group study sessions and pre-exam nerves. But for all you other poor buggers out there, here is my humble advice for breezing through your exam block and maintaining your sanity all the while.
Oh, and I know you are probably wondering why you should take my advice on surviving exams when I don’t have to do them. Well firstly, like all Communications students, I like to think I am always right. Secondly, I need something to do during my lecture while the teacher yaks on about pretentious bullshit I pretend to care about.
Tip #1 – Keep the end in mind
Ensure you have something to look forward to at the end of exams. It will will give you the motivational power to persist through endless study sessions.
Plan a Hunter Valley weekend away, host a huge end of semester party or simply promise yourself an early night without feeling guilty.
Each time you are tempted to fall off the study bandwagon, just think of the exciting times ahead and it should pull you through. If not, refer to Tip #6.
Tip #2 – Get on top of it early
There is still plenty of time left to get on top of any content you are not 100% sure about. Email tutors about anything you are having trouble with and attend any extra assistance workshops you deem necessary.
This is not the time to be leaving tutorials early because your pho cravings kicked in. Start preparing and sifting through your notes so you are not forced to cram at the last minute.
Tip #3 – Surround yourself with content
If there is a particular definition, formula, legislation or term you just can’t seem to remember, put it somewhere you are going to constantly see it.
Make yourself posters, flash cards and even acronyms to help you remember key content. I still have sticky tape marks on the doors of my closet from the posters I made in an attempt to learn Latin terms back in the good old days of HSC Ancient History. But hey, to this day I remember what a fullonica is! This method helps, I promise.
Tip #4 – Figure out what fuels your brain the best
For me, I always eat a banana and drink a strong coffee about 45 minutes before doing any Uni work. The coffee is self explanatory, though I am not sure what the science behind the banana is, but I have just figured out that my brain seems to power through information more effectively afterwards.
Stop relying on Party Mixes and Twisties to get you through long and tiring study sessions. Fuel your brain with heaps of nutrients and don’t forget to keep hydrated, because it makes thinking a whole lot easier.
Tip #5 – Make study fun
Fun and study. Huh?
Find a study buddy. Study at your boyfriend’s house. Study when you are on the treadmill at the gym. Study when you are listening to music. Study when you are outside. Study with your dog. Study over a chocolate milkshake. Do whatever you need to do to take the pain out of studying!
Tip #6 – See the bigger picture
Sometimes in the midst of all the stress and anxiety we just have to take a step back and remind ourselves to look at the bigger picture.
Ask yourself why you are even doing your degree in the first place? Where do you want to end up when you graduate? What kind of job and lifestyle do you desire? Remind yourself of why you wanted to study what you are studying. Reignite some passion and feel the spark of energy flow when you do!
Tip #7 – Short Term Memory
Keep in mind that our brains can hold between 5-7 items in its short term memory. Don’t put pressure on yourself to learn a multitude of chapters in one session and especially don’t expect yourself to learn a semester’s worth of work in one night.
Like all good things, committing study notes to memory takes time. Start early, practice little by little and you will be good to go way before exams even start!