Thursday, 28 May 2015

A (sort of) Guide to the Exam Period

I know it is a clumsy guide – if it is a guide at all
But it helps me pass exams – and have fun, overall.

Living through a semester at university is like running a marathon with an uphill run at the end. You already see the finishing line, but the toughest part is yet ahead - the scary time called exam period. You need to jump through tests, overcome procrastination, study at steady pace and suddenly speed up the night before the exam. Not an easy task to manage! 

So what to do and how to do it during the exams time?

To plan or not to plan?
Some students manage to make a study plan for exams. Most of these students also manage to not follow it at all. I, personally, fail my plan the first day I make it and so the best option seems to be just awareness of the exam dates put in an equation with the amount of study. If I have to learn 100 pages in 10 days and know that I can read those in 1 day, I will definitely not read 10 pages a day. I would constantly postpone it till the last day and after 9 days of self-reproaching and procrastinating, I will hatefully start reading, thinking that I could have used that time in a much better way.
My advice? Make a plan if you know how to follow it. If you don’t, then just jot down the amount of work compared to the amount of time you have.

And then? Don’t waste that time!
By not wasting time I mean not pretending to study, if you seriously don’t. Imagine all the time you’ve spent on Facebook or watching YouTube videos just because you couldn’t really open that book or continue that boring chapter… wouldn’t it be nice to have it back and fill it with something real? Just follow one rule: You either study, or you don’t.

And when you don’t, enjoy that time!
After wasting 3 hours procrastinating, your friends go out and you can’t, because you haven’t studied yet. What to do? Stay at home and have regrets that you’ve missed a good time? Or go out and have regrets for the good mark you’re not gonna get? Both are wrong, and both you don’t enjoy. Just get away from what disturbs you (park or cafeteria is a better study environment than Facebook wall) and do your work. After that, enjoy free time. With clear mind and no regrets.

Sleep, food, exercise, and other things we don’t care about
Studying for exams involves a lot of sitting, hunched back, too much computer, stress, little sleep, and coffee overdose (if you prefer energy drinks, help yourself and try a cup of green tea or maté for a change – they give a healthy kick to your brains).  So how can you take a nap, make a healthy meal, or go for a walk if there’s no time to waste? Well, stop wasting it elsewhere! We all know that the only good procrastination is none – and then maybe productive procrastination, too. If you find yourself distracted and unable to study anymore, get out of books and into fresh air. Your brains regenerate, and I guess they do so better if you switch them off while exercising, than reading wall posts and so still processing new data. Sleepy? Drink a coffee and take a nap afterwards – this combination makes you rest and kicks you after you’re back in the study game again.
Just remember: sleep, exercise, and healthy food weigh more than wasted time does.

There’s no way of studying for exams without the real studying, but you can make your time worthwhile. Balance it up and have no regrets. If you learn well during night studying, then happily sleep in afterwards! If you need to have a plan, then make it and follow! If you need to see friends, then see them and then really study! Find your way and follow it. Just don’t waste time. We have so little of it.


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