The month of June means two things for every student at CEU Cardenal Herrera University: sun and exams. Indeed, with such good weather and summer just around the corner we need a lot of courage and determination to study for the final exams!
We could tell you that this final part of the term represents the culmination of a 9-month process full of hard work and effort but, although true, we are aware that for the moment all you can think about are those all-nighters to come, those stacks of notes to memorize and those blank sheets to fill in with knowledge.
Unfortunately we can’t do anything to avoid the exams and we know this period can be very stressful for you. That’s why we want to share with you some tips to help you pass this bitter pill!
1. Elaborate your own revision schedule
Forget about those magical recipes everyone gives you, because you are the only one who knows what best suits your needs when it comes to preparing your exams. Some people prefer to study at night time, others prefer to study alone or can only concentrate under very specific conditions. The only thing we can advise you is to take it easy. Remember that on an exam you have to reflect all the work you have done throughout the term so start studying early! Then, when it comes to revising, it is a good idea to take short and frequent breaks to boost your concentration. Also, if you change the subject from time to time, you won’t get as tired of studying!
Furthermore, our Library and our University’s Counseling and Disability Assistance Service offer a wide range of services and materials to help you overcome this *terrible* time of the year. We already published these services on our blog, and you can read the post here.
2. Keep the good habits
This can seem fake, but it isn’t: eat right, sleep well and try to avoid coffee!
In times of full brain activity, it is essential to keep your body fueled with fresh and healthy food, especially at early hours; so yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and shouldn’t be skipped: some fruit, fresh juice, cereals and dairy products are always a safe bet to include in your breakfast. Read more about brain food here!
What about pulling an all-nighter? Not a very good idea. Get your 8 hours of sleep and try not to drink too much caffeine, which can be really stimulating at first but easily wears off leaving you a terrible feeling of…tiredness!
3. (Try to) Manage exam stress
When you face the actual exam, don’t panic. You have done your best, you have revised, used mnemonics…breathe out and try to follow these tips:
-Scan the whole exam and read carefully all the questions. Make sure you understand exactly what they are asking you and try to calculate the time you are going to need to answer each of the questions (remember to bring a watch with you!).
-Write down immediately any information which is difficult to remember and that you will be using in your answers: dates, formulas and names.
-Skip the questions you don’t know and focus first on the ones you are sure of. You can always go back to the other ones later!
-Before answering, take a minute to structure your arguments.
-Make things easy for your examiner and try to write as neatly as possible. Use a ruler to underline keywords, use different colours (if possible!) and watch out for any spelling errors.
-If you run out of time, don’t leave any question unanswered and try (at least) to give some brief outline!
-Review all your answers at the end of the exam!
4. Stay positive!
Easy to say, but not that easy to do. Simply remember that there is life beyond exams so even if you feel you need to study every minute of the day (and night), a pause from time to time will really help you concentrate better. A little anxiety is always positive, but try not to worry excessively about upcoming exams.
Also try to avoid comparing yourself with your classmates, especially after an exam. Negative thinking and self-criticism will only make you feel more nervous and insecure.
And remember, summer is just a couple of weeks away!
Good luck from everyone at CEU Cardenal Herrera University, now get down to those notes!