All through junior high and high school, and now that I’m back in college, I’ve hated preparing for exams. The endless studying! The stress! The sleepless nights! But I swore last semester would be different. I did some research to find the best ways to get ready for an exam, and I tried every single one of them. Here are the ones that worked the best…
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Your brain and body need rest to help you study and to help you focus during the exam. You might be tempted to stay up late to study, but don’t do it!
2. Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine may help you stay awake to study, but it will also make you jittery and make it harder to sleep when you’re done. It may be tempting to make a run for Starbucks, but you’ll be glad you resisted the temptation. Drink water instead!
3. Eat Right
Fuel your brain with carb-rich foods. It may sound odd, to suggest that pasta might help you prepare for your exams, but it’s true! So enjoy healthful foods with carbs (like grains, fruits, and vegetables) in the days before your big test.
4. Don’t Overdo It
Take study breaks. Studies have shown that people learn better in short bursts, so study for twenty minutes, then take a ten minute break before studying again.
5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Stress won’t help you remember anything, and can actually make your memory worse. Relax a little and keep a positive attitude!
6. Avoid the Downers
Avoid other students from your class who would rather complain than study. They’re not going to help you learn or review, and will only make you feel stressed and uncertain. Buddy up with the other positive-minded people instead!
7. Make Sure You Know the Details
When and where is the exam? Will you need a calculator, a Scantron sheet, a pencil? Can you use notes or your book? Make sure you know the details, so you don’t have to worry about them later. Your instructor or teacher will be happy to tell you what you need, if you’re not sure.
Read over your notes one last time, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Don’t study, just review. If you have a hard time recalling a list of items, make up your own anagram or rhyme. It helps!
9. Exercise a Little!
Get that blood pumping, and get oxygen to your brain! It will help keep you focused, reduce pre-exam stress and help your mood, too.
10. Leave the Distractions behind
Turn off your cell phone and iPod. Don’t just shut them off or put them on vibrate — clear them off of your desk!
By themselves, these ideas are pretty powerful helpers. But if you do them all together, there’s no way you won’t do great! How do you prepare for an exam? What helps you get ready so you know you’ll ace a test? Tell me, so I can try it out!
Top photo credit: Boopsie.daisy