Exams are an unavoidable part of university life. It can be tempting to compare yourself to your peers and their study habits; however, it’s important to remember that you are on your own unique journey. Rather than comparing yourself to others, concentrate on which approaches are most effective for you and your learning style.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your exams effectively whilst also ensuring you take care of yourself in the process:
Make a study plan
Creating a study plan is an excellent method to stay organised and ensure that you cover all of the necessary content without having to cram at the last minute. By breaking down your study sessions into manageable chunks, you’ll be able to approach your exams with confidence. To begin creating a study plan, make a schedule for each day leading up to the exam. Allowing time for breaks and periods of rest will help you keep focus and avoid burnout. Remember that your well-being comes first, so make adjustments as needed. You’ll be well prepared to face your examinations with confidence if you balance self-care and academics.
Use active learning strategies
Active learning strategies such as taking notes, creating flash cards, and summarising key ideas can be extremely beneficial when it comes to recalling information. These strategies not only help you to retain the information better than passive learning strategies, but they also can help you discover areas where you might need extra practice or review. Remember that everyone learns differently, so choose the methods that work for you. Don’t be scared to try out different ways until you find what works for you. You’ll be well on your way to exam achievement with a little tenacity and patience.
Seek help when you need it
If you’re having trouble grasping a certain subject or concept, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s communicating with your lecturers for clarity, seeking out a tutor, or reaching out to your peers, there are many resources available to support you. The University of Surrey provides academic support services such as peer-supported learning and a journal club to develop critical thinking skills. You can find out more here.
Take care of your physical health
When exam season is approaching, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and lose sight of self-care. However, it’s more crucial than ever to put your well-being first. Take breaks, get enough rest, eat well, and drink plenty of water to ensure you have the energy to perform well in your exams. Equally, regular exercise is important, even if it’s only a short walk around campus, because it keeps your body moving and clears your mind, reducing stress in the process. By taking care of yourself both mentally and physically, you’ll be better prepared to face the pressures of exam season and approach your exams with confidence.
Get enough sleep
During exam season, it’s common to see students pulling all-nighters in the library or working late hours. However, this isn’t the most effective way to study. In fact, a good night’s sleep is crucial for improving mentoring, concentration, and exam performance. It is recommended that you receive 7-8 hours of sleep each night to provide your brain with the rest it requires to function optimally. Pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion is counterproductive and is likely to hinder your ability to retain information. It’s preferable to take breaks when you’re feeling tired and resume your studies with a clear mind after a good night’s sleep.
Practise relaxation techniques
Stress and anxiety are common during exam season and can make it difficult to focus and recall information. That’s why practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and calm your mind. Taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath or practise other relaxation techniques might help you manage stress and perform well on your exams.
Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining your focus and preventing burnout. Give yourself permission to step away from your studies at regular intervals, such as every hour or so, and use that time to stretch, go for a walk, or do something else you love. You will be able to refuel your body and mind by taking pauses, which will ultimately help you do better on your tests.
We understand that exam season can be challenging, but we believe in your abilities and that you can reach your goals with hard work and self-care. Remember to be gentle with yourself and prioritise your well-being along the way. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you need it. We’re rooting for you every step of the way, and we can’t wait to see you succeed.