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How to EXAM without losing your TAM

By Alexa Fenton, 3rd year ConEd History/English student

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Exams. People are walking around Stauffer in their socks, Grocery Checkout is out of chocolate covered almonds and M&M’s, and you don’t remember what real jeans feel like. You’ve seen more plastic exam baggies than friends in the past two days, and you have to hold onto the railing as you go down the stairs of Stauffer, lest your newborn deer legs buckle under the weight of your temporary freedom and atrophying muscles as you leave the library late at night.

Exams aren’t a whole lot of fun for anyone. That is, unless your proctor is doing a really good crossword that day. Despite being a 3rd year student (Concurrent Ed., History Major, English Minor), exams still tend to provoke a lot of anxiety within me. They are scary. You have only 3 hours to prove everything you know about a subject. Advanced preparation (i.e. more than 24 hours!) is the key to success.

Here are some crucial tips for getting through this crunch time and maintaining the semblance of a feeling that you’re still human:

1.  Do not become one of those zombies in “I am Legend.”

Channel your inner Will Smith and get enough sleep. It’s hard to save the world, let alone study when you can’t feel your fingers.

2.  Maintain structure.

Try your best to work the same length of time, at the same time each day. Some people like to think of working a ‘9-5 job’.

3.  Move.

You don’t need to go to the gym everyday, but you do need to take a break and let your blood flow a bit. It is recommended that you at least go for a short walk with a friend if you can’t fit in a run. It’s amazing what fresh air will do for your brain.

4.  Plan ahead.

Make an exam schedule in advance. Break down the 20 days leading up to your exams – how many days do you need to study for each exam? How many hours will you get in per day? Asking yourself these important questions now allows you to focus on the important stuff (learning the actual material) when the time counts.

5.  Mark your turf.

Find a good study spot(s) and stick to it/them.

6. Review.

Past exams are your friend. Use them.

7.  Reward yourself after the exam rain or shine.

Sure, it might not have gone as well as you had hoped, but you put a lot of effort into it, and that is to be commended! Treat ‘yo self.

Best of luck to all as we take on this tough time! Remember you’re worth more than just your marks.

Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.