Ace Your Exams!

It’s that time of year again, final exams are right around the corner and it’s time to start studying. Don’t panic! Final exams and midterms can be stressful, but by managing your time well and taking care of yourself, they can be a lot less overwhelming. As a senior at American University, over the last few years I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me, and can help you too.  Offer your own suggestions, or let us know your favorite place to study in the comments!

Steps to Success

  1. Eat well. It can be very tempting to skip meals and just eat snacks and junk food when you’re pressed for time. But eating well and regularly will make you feel and perform better. Having snacks on hand for late nights in the library is also a good idea when you’re in need of an energy boost. During mid-terms week, I always have a jar of peanut butter in my backpack; it’s quick and full of protein.
  2. Sleep. I can never focus or do my best when I am tired (and the science backs me up)! Most students (including myself) have found themselves in the unfortunate situation of staying up all night long to finish a paper or study for a test. It can be easy to let assignments sneak up on you and then realize they’re all due the next day. Which brings me to the next step…
  3. Work ahead. Many professors assign papers and projects ahead of time, before finals week starts. Whenever possible, try and get these assignments underway as early as you can. If you get a jump start, you’ll be thankful once test week rolls around and you have more time to focus on the in-class exams.
  4. Find the right place to study. Everyone has different study techniques, some people study better alone and in a silent environment and some people study better with some background noise. Find out what works best for you, and then stick to that. Personally, I study best on my own, with some music in the background. During mid-terms week, the library is usually very crowded, and everyone seems stressed, so I like to steer clear of places like that. I also avoid studying on my bed; beds are for sleeping, not studying. I have a specific spot on campus where I go only to get work done and whenever I’m there I automatically go into a school-work frame of mind.
  5. If you tend to procrastinate (like I do), then steer clear of other procrastinators. They say misery loves company, and I’ve learned procrastinators do too! Watching videos on YouTube and Facebook stalking can take up a ton of time. It’s okay to take a study break, as long as you put a time limit on it, and then get back to work once the time limit is up.  Speaking of YouTube, here are a couple great videos about how to overcome the problem of procrastination 🙂 &
  6. In fact, taking breaks is a good idea. It helps to clear your head, and makes you more focused for your next project. Between papers and studying for tests, I like hanging out with my friends and going on short walks.
  7. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Academics are very important, and mid-terms/finals weeks can be very stressful. But don’t let the stress overwhelm you. Just stay confident, focused and well rested, and you’ll do your best!                                                                                                                                                                                                                      – Mallory Orme, Global UGRAD Intern 

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