Whether you are a college or university student, you must probably be stressing out about the upcoming exam period.
Exam season can be really stressful, overwhelming, and hectic especially if you have been slacking from the beginning of the semester and you absolutely need to pass the class!
Well, I can tell you from my experience that planning for your final exam schedule is one of the most crucial steps of your learning process, even before the actual act of studying because it will help you to have a clear goal in your mind and achieve better results.
Here are some simple steps that I have used during my university time that helped me to get through my exams.
Use a google calendar or a printable calendar to mark down all the exam dates as soon as you receive the exam schedule.
Count the number of days left till your exams.
For each subject, make a list of the topics you need to cover and distribute these topics in your calendar based on your exam dates and how much you need to cover.
Prior to starting studying, you may want to check where you stand in terms of grades.
Start studying the topics you struggle with the most at the beginning and leaving the easiest ones towards the end.
Allocate more hours to topics with heavier weight. For example, if something is accounted for 40% of your exam vs. 5%, then you definitely want to spend more time grasping the concepts related to the subject with a higher weight.
While studying, use your professors' office hours or study forums to ask questions.
If you are someone that works during the week, you may want to study 2-3 hours per day on the weekdays and allocate 5-6 hours for the weekend.
While studying, adopt the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro, which literally means tomato in Italian, was a concept named after a kitchen timer that looked like a tomato. The term was coined by Francesco Cirillo based on the concept that human beings have a very short attention span. The idea is to:
Pick something you want to work on
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work extremely hard with no distractions which means no cellphones, no social media, no of nothing!
At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break and then re-start studying for another 25 minutes
After 4 Pomodoro sessions, take longer breaks between 20-30 minutes and then repeat the process. Studies have shown that students adopting this technique were very effective and productive.
If you enjoy some music and by music, I don't mean rap, hip hop, or rock and roll, but rather classical music or music with no lyrics, you can play that as background noise. Music, in general, helps you to increase focus and increase your cognitive performance.
Lastly, leave some days to review. Studies have shown that it doesn't matter how much you study if you don't dedicate some time to revision. You could try to incorporate some revision time before going to sleep.
I am no longer a full-time- student, but I am still studying.
If you are a full-time worker and pursuing some specific designations in your field like me, then you definitely need to find a way to allocate your time between work and study.
One thing that I can suggest is to always study a little bit each day, at least 2-3 hours during the weekdays, and use the weekends to practice as much as possible. I am a morning person and during my busy week schedule with classes, gym, volunteering, and so forth, I always make sure to allocate a little bit of time to study whether it is in the library or during my metro and bus ride home. I also make sure to give some break to my brain with intense gym workouts and enough sleeping hours. And from time to time, I also pamper myself with a bit of me-time. It is ok to take a break and disconnect yourself from the world. Last, but not least, do not get influenced by family and friends' distractions tempting you to go out, have fun and etc. It is ok to say NO and concentrate on your studies!
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