Queen's University Logo
--IMPORTANT NOTICE-- Up-to-date COVID-19 information Click Here

So, you realized it’s Week 11… We need a plan…

By: Julia Tighe, 3rd year Con-Ed/Health Studies student

Exams are about as scary as your dad doing a dab this holiday season. I understand, it has already been a long, long, LONG 11 weeks (plus 1 more for week 12) and now we have to stay for 2 weeks after that, which are the most dreaded weeks of the semester.

You may not be as caught up as you want to, maybe that quick cat nap turned into a semester long hibernation, OR you may be completely on top of it (yay! 🙂 ). Regardless which scenario you fit with it’s a difficult time for university students. Kraft Dinner sales rise, laundry piles grow exponentially, and Stauffer Library seems like a home away from home.

BUT, HOLD THE PHONE, none of that needs to happen! Those two weeks don’t have to be as scary as you think, IF you consider the 5 steps to a successful exam season:

STEP 1: KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW (and own it!)

I’ve done it before – lying to myself by saying that I totally know week 3 off by heart. When I glance over it for the exam I realize I totally knew it off by heart for the midterm. Step 1 to your best exam season yet is to acknowledge you need to review material, and do the review.



             The Spice Girls recommend it: scheduling your life is an important part of a successful exam season. We definitely do not want any exam to sneak up on you like those multiple 4-pieces from Lazy. What some people forget is that scheduling time to go to the gym or to FaceTime your dog is an important aspect to your exam success as well. The BEST template to create a plan for yourself can be found here.

STEP 3: EAT. SLEEP. EXAM. (go to the gym, call your mom, breathe). REPEAT.

            One of my favorite exam study tricks is to wake up at the same time every day. Having exams at different times makes it difficult to establish a routine. Waking up at the same time allows you to have time to eat a healthy meal and then get to work around the same time each day! Your brain and body love routine. You’ll feel less lethargic and ready to study each day.

 STEP 4: A repeat after me (song).

             “I (insert your name here) am the best student at Queen’s University.” Now your turn, did you actually say it? Ok, do it for real. Good for you! This mindset is incredibly powerful to have. Allowing your ego to take over a little and telling yourself that you have done all that you can when going into an exam will make your mind clearer and produce the answer to that multiple choice question you can’t figure out. Just breathe, and remember: “I am the best student at QU”.

STEP 5: ~-~ oooooooommmmmmmm ~-~

             The final step to your exam season success is to be calm. You have done an amazing job preparing and will rock your exams! Remember your growth mindset as well while working – you may not be rocking every step of the exam process from the get go but you will get there! Watch a TED talk on the growth mindset here.

If you are looking for even more resources or tips and tricks from other Peer Learning Assistants check out sass.queensu.ca! There are so many incredible peers who want to help you succeed.

I know you are going to rock your exams this season, because you took the time to get prepared in week 11! You are one step ahead of the exam game. Remember you are not your grades, you are way more than that. A successful exam season doesn’t mean straight As, your well-being is important as well. You can do this!


P.S. I hope you liked all the pictures of baby animals… It may or may not have been a secret ~.~ step 6 ~.~ to your fool proof plan: look at pictures of baby animals to destress 🙂


Photos courtesy of Niels Kliim, Taylor Bennett, Tambako The Jaguar, Anna Hull, and Nathan Rupert under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0