It is coming up to exam time for many here. That can mean lots of stress and last minute cramming. Exams don’t have to be stressful though. I hope the following ideas help some of you out (whether you are a first time exam taker or coming back to exams after a while away from formal study).
Preparation is the difference between success and failure in lots in life – exams are no different.
Your exam date is your target date to be ready, to be at your best. Prepare yourself to be as ready as you can by working backwards and planning your study time over the weeks/months leading up to the big day. Set this time up in your calendar and see it as a commitment to be kept. If you can get in some extra informal sessions as well all the better.
2) Find Your Preferred Learning Style
Some of us take in information best visually (infograms, process flows etc), others do well hearing information and some do best going with the old school approach of just putting their nose in some books and ploughing through them.
We all take in a blend of the above methods but finding your preferred style of learning can improve your chances of retaining as much useful information as possible.
3) Short, Sharp Bursts of Study
These work well for many when studying. Personally, I find short, sharp bursts help me with retaining information and indeed not feeling like the studying is one huge drag on time.
Yes, set aside time for studying but also don’t be afraid to get up and take a break when you need to and don’t underestimate the power of even the shortest of study bursts.
Setting aside time to study is one thing, actually using that time to productively study is another.
To ensure you are focused on the task at hand get rid of external distractions (phones, TV, too much noise etc). Set aside an area for just you and your study materials and then focus simply on studying. There will be plenty of time for play later!
5) Learn How to Study
This can apply to first time exam takers and older hands alike.
For those of us coming back to formal study after a long time away we almost have to go through the process of relearning how to study. While the steps above should help, don’t underestimate this. What worked for us many years ago may not be practical now.
What works for one might not work for someone else. Find your own way and align your approach to study to your own personal rhythms and personality.
6) Do Your Best
Even if we have perfect preparation leading up to an exam we may not feel at our best on the day. This can be discouraging if we let it be but rather than get in own way better to do our best with what we have on the day.
Focus on just doing the level best you can and let the results take care of themselves. This approach will serve us as well in life as it will in an exam.
Put the steps above into play and make your exams as frictionless as they can be.