Taking exams can lead to stress and anxiety if you have not studied during the year because you will find yourself cramming for each test and studying late into the night. With a little time management during the school year, you not only minimize stress at exam time, but maximize productivity and results.
1. Buy an extra notebook for each subject at the beginning of the year so that as you finish a chapter in class, you immediately write notes and summaries in that book. The classwork will still be fresh in your mind so at exam time you merely have to take the notebook home from school. Write down the key points you learned from each lesson onto a cue card. This helps your mind to retain the day’s important facts.
2. Record your notes on a digital voice recorder or another device (you can also use your phone), listen to them in your spare time, listen to them as you would an audio book, concentrate on the words and try to memorize them as you hear them. Researchers also found that listening to sounds during sleep enhance memory.
3. Learn how to make mind maps, cluster maps, Power Points and other memory aids. Mind maps are graphical illustrations of a subject and a great memory tool to use, especially during exams. These tools are great for flash-carding and memory-retrieving.
4. As soon as you finish a topic, take out a book from the library and read more information about the subject. Look up questions you had and try to clear any confusion that you possibly had while learning the topic. Take notes to refer back to them before and at test time.
5. Don’t do rough drafts for essays. Just do the good copy straight away, but thoroughly as well. In an exam situation you won’t have time to write out a whole draft copy, so practice writing out good copies straight away. Make sure the good copy is neat, punctuation and spelling are correct, and the information makes sense.
6. Make a timetable for exam days by marking the dates on a calendar, so you can be prepared by the time the test comes around.
7. Make a list of your classes and the topics covered in class. As you study a topic, mark it in a way that is meaningful to you, to remind you which topics have already been studied.
8. Set aside a study time each day when you are not too tired, or too hungry. If you are going to study for a long time, remember to take a break in between, preferably every 20 minutes or so.
9. Set up a study group. Study groups share notes, thoughts and ideas or how to solve or understand a particular problem. Be sure to honor the class rules on what work may or may not be done in groups.
10. Plan out ‘trial’ exams for yourself. All you have to do is redo one of your past tests or quizzes within a time limit. Get into the exam mode by clearing your work desk of everything except your paper and pen.
11. Plan for academic success and execute the plan with tenacity. Provided that you are healthy you should execute your plans whether you are feeling strong or weak, tired or energized, lazy or motivated, focused or distracted, discouraged or encouraged. Realize that it is up to you to make the moments in your hand count for something and don’t let your feelings trick you into being less than empowered.
12. Get enough sleep at night. It’s harder to concentrate when you got less than six hours of sleep the night before. Aim for eight to ten hours of deep sleep to feel truly refreshed and ready for anything in the morning.
13. When choosing individual subjects to study, start with the least enjoyable or the most difficult subject. Master it, and you’ll end up loving it. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about putting it off until it’s too late because you don’t like it.
14. Follow a daily timetable, on the first day it will be a challenge; second day it will become a practice and the third day it will become a habit.