1. Plan a Schedule and Get Organized
Staying focused on your goal is critical to get to your goal of passing your midterms, final exams or a big exam. Setting a reasonable and manageable schedule not only helps you learn at a pace in which your brain can actually retain the information. But it also helps you manage your anxieties by breaking down your material into manageable chunks of time. Research shows that our cognitive memory can not retain and hold information when it is overloaded quickly with massive quantities of information. Often called “cramming” (i.e., you study and attempt to absorb chapters and chapters of information in a short period of time). Studies have shown that we are more successful in retaining new information and keeping it in our long term memory when we learn them in small parts.
2. Length of Time you Study
How long do you usually study for an exam? Do you wait until the week before? Few days before? The day before the exam or even worse the night before the exam?
Keep it short. Study for no more than 2 hours at a time. Then take a break! Manage your time. You are more likely to retain new information for the long term. This is the best way avoid burnout.
3. What you Eat Matters
Eating healthy snacks while studying will help give you the energy you need and aid your memory. On the test day, remember to bring the same healthy snacks you eat while studying.
4. Remove the Distractions
Turn your phone on to airplane mode and set a timer for 2 hours. Then give yourself at least a 20 minute break to do something fun, get up and move around. It’s important to get your body moving by stretching, walking around, or trying something else to get your heart beat moving. By keeping your body moving you will increase your body circulation to your muscles and your brain.
5. Review Few Days Before
Review only the days leading up to the exam. Instead of take practice exams, mentally demanding, or intense studying, try just reviewing the material. Brushing up on items you are not sure of or feel like you can not recall as clearly. This not only keeps you from burning out but also keeps your mind alert and keeps from getting fatigued on the actual exam day.
6. Self Care!
Remember to take care of yourself the day before the exam. This is going to sound unorthodox and go against everything you knew before. Don’t cram the day before! Instead take a long walk, go for a run, see a movie, have a spa day at home, or do anything that helps you relax and unwind. You want to be as rested and recharged as possible on test day.
7. Be confident!
Staying positive and confident that you have studied hard and prepared. Positive psychology shows us that staying positive can have a huge influence on not only the way we think, but the way we feel and the actions we choose to take.
Go out there and give these 7 tips to test preparation a try!
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