With the final exam period right on the horizon soon pressures will run high and hearts will begin pounding as we hastily sit down to prepare for yet another grueling period of studying and scary papers. Well what I want to try and achieve with this post is to tell you that it does not have to be that way by attempting to put forth a few tips that have helped me reduce the unbearable stress and anxiety that comes with these exam periods that could hopefully help you all out too. Now I am aware that everyone studies differently and learns things in a different way however, I hope that these tips can offer enough of a general overview that they can personally be implemented in to all of your studying regiments.
Tip 1: Make sure that you are in a clean and tidy space.
A study carried out by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that visual stimuli can distract you by competing with more processing space in your brain. Personally, I used to feel at ease when I was in a clean and tidy space and as a result I found myself staying more focused and efficient yet, this could definitely correlate with what researchers had discovered in this recent study.
Therefore I would definitely recommend cleaning out the space around you before you begin studying as (even though it may be a very small contribution) this might surely contributing to increasing your efficiency and aid your focus while your carrying out your studies.
Tip 2: Take very frequent breaks while you are studying
The average attention span of a regular person is around 1 hour before it starts dropping at a very rapid rate. Thus, I have found that it is extremely counter productive to try and cram as much studying as you can in to a day, especially as you’re nearing exam day.
I recommend that after about every hour of studying that you take around a 10 minute break, maybe watch a few videos, chat for a little bit or listen to some music. This will definitely reduce the anxiety and stress that you will have whilst studying for your next upcoming papers. However, try to not go over more than 10 minutes because then you may cross over in to a dangerous place where your mind has become too relaxed and then it is hard to regain focus. Therefore try to keep the breaks short but frequent in order to achieve maximum efficiency while studying.
Tip 3: Try not to listen to music, chat or watch anything WHILE studying
This tip ties in with my previous one about trying to get your mind off studying during breaks through some form of entertainment. Yet while you are actually in the act of studying, try to do just that and nothing else. Devote all of your brain power to learning and preparing. This in turn will make the breaks that much more rewarding and can also be motivating as the definite boost in your learning will motivate you to continue farther.
Tip 4: Write…Write…Write
Writing has been widely regarded as a surefire method to increase your chances of remembering something as does typing. Keep in mind that I am not implying that you take notes and study from them (something most people do anyway), what I am recommending is that you constantly write everything that you are reading (in note form preferably) off of the slides, books etc. that you are learning the subject from, even if its the 10th time that you are reading something.
I have personally found that doing this really helps get these concepts in your head as you are devoting much more than simply your vision and some thought to the information that you are taking in but rather amplifying it further by throwing a physical act in to the mix.
Keep in mind that these notes do not always need to be coherent it just always helps me stay focus, on task and more devoted to what I am doing when I am writing down everything that I am reading. That is not to say that if what you have written down is useful that you can not use it to study from later.
Tip 5: Try to keep in mind that this period is temporary
Whenever you’re feeling bogged down and tired, try to remember that this is just a couple weeks of your life that you are setting aside to study so that you can perform your best on these papers. Use these moments to think about the relief you will have when you have finished the exams and can finally take sometime off peacefully.
Also use this thought to push yourself to the best of your abilities for this short period so that you can fully enjoy the post-exam period without having to worry about re-sits and thinking to yourself that you should’ve studied harder. Those feelings of regret are things that none of us need in our lives right now, especially as classes keep piling up and start getting more and more difficult down the line.
I hope that sharing these tips with you has aided you in someway to get the most out of these sometimes painful times and help you be more efficient while also alleviating some of the stress that can come with these exam periods.