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How to stay calm, cool and collected during exam season

By Elana Moscoe, 4th year Con-Ed, History

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” said no one ever… but for me, surprisingly, exam season really is one of my favourite times.

Hold, on: I can explain. I love exam period because I get to go by my own schedule, dive deep into my courses that for the most part, I’ve really enjoyed this semester, and take a step back and try to solidify my knowledge that I have learned throughout the year. However, the key to keeping as calm, cool, and collected as possible during exam season is to make sure that you try to give yourself balance. Whether your exams are one after another in a very condensed period of time, or they are spread out over the span of a few weeks, by scheduling your time so that you are the most efficient you can be, you will be surprised by how your exam period can actually be enjoyable by leaving enough time to catch up with friends, hit the gym, or make holiday cookies!

Here are the top 10 ways that you can make exam period as enjoyable and stress-free as possible:

1. Make a schedule that will work for you. Try our December exam study schedule template (with instructions!).

2. Even though it’s exam time, try to get yourself to wake up at the same time every day so that you are most productive and so that you stick to a consistent schedule.

3. Taking breaks is necessary for your brain to solidify your knowledge! I love the 50/10 Rule where you study for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break out of every hour.

4. Explore new parts of Kingston to find alternative study spots when campus gets too busy or you need a change of scenery. Check out Sipps, Coffee & Co, Starbucks on Princess and The Kingston Public Library to get you started.

5. Get active! Try to get 150 minutes of physical activity every week. This can actually help to improve your memory.

6. Study for your course in the same block of time as your exam. For example, if you have a 7-10 exam and you don’t usually do work that late, try studying from 7-10 for that course everyday before your exam to get yourself prepared.

7. Make time to eat healthy meals during exams. Eating healthy will make you stay on top of your A game, and if you like to cook, it can be a great stress reliever.

8. Try to bring earplugs to your exams if you have trouble focusing in large exam halls.

9. Study in groups 25% of the time! Group study can be very effective if you come prepared and can be a great way to compare notes and discuss concepts out loud with classmates.

10. Try your best, but remember that your grades do not define you. Cliché, but true. There is much more to you than your grades, and don’t let that slide, especially during this stressful time of year. Everyone defines success differently. Define how you view your success and use that to set goals for yourself to keep you motivated throughout exams. Most importantly, make sure that you achieve a balance that will keep you mentally and physically healthy through this period.

Good luck! See our Exam Prep resources for more information.

Photo courtesy of Pete under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.