12 tips to get you through exams

Happy Holidays from the Student Success Office

T’was the season of exams and all throughout campus

Not a student was procrastinating, not even a bit.

The books and notes were stacked high across the tables,

In hopes that exams would go well and this term would be lit.   

Not to worry UWaterloo! We have you covered, with twelve tips to get you through exams and give your term a happy ending.

Tip 1: Know your learning style.

This is important to how you study. By knowing your learning style you’re able to effectively absorb information and apply it when you’re studying and writing your exams.

This online resource (PDF) will help you identify your learning style.

Tip 2: Sleep!

Make sure that you get some rest this exam season. Sleep affects concentration, memory and the ability to learn. Not sleeping will negatively affect your retention rate because your brain uses sleep as a chance to recover, which in turn helps you remember information more effectively. So make sure to get some ZZZs UWaterloo.

Read this article (PDF) if you need some tricks to help you sleep better.

Tip 3: Take breaks

You body functions best when you allow it a chance to recuperate. The best way to study is to study between 40 and 90 minutes, then break for 10 minutes. During your breaks get up and stretch, get a snack and let your brain absorb the information you just studied.

This article explains how to take an effective study break

Tip 4: Drink water

Yes, yes I know. Aren’t caffeinated beverages the way to go during exams? They can be, but in small doses (you don’t want to get the jitters). Water ensures that you don’t get dehydrated- which can lead to impaired focus, lack of energy, and mood swings. Yikes!

For more reasons to stay hydrated read this article from shape.com.

Tip 5: Make a study schedule

Making a schedule for yourself can help you be more efficient with your time.  By blocking out the time for studying, sleeping, eating, breaks, and socializing it means that you know what your day will look like and it will make it easier to track what needs to get done and when.

Here is a tip sheet on managing your time effectively (PDF) to help you with your scheduling needs.

Tip 6: Move

I like to move it move it. You like to move it move it.

Make sure you get up and stretch when you’re studying. This will help you avoid the aches and pains of sitting hunched over for most of the day. Work out, go for a walk around the library, or whatever you choose - just make sure you move.

Exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety, while giving you an endorphin boost. Bonus!

Tip 7: Breathe deep

Reinvigorate your senses by going outside and getting some fresh air. It’s a chance for you to stretch your legs (see tip number six) and naturally boost your mood and energy.

Tip 8: Limit distractions

In the age of constant connectivity with smart phones and social media, limiting your distractions can be hard, but the pros outweigh the cons. By limiting your distractions it will increase your focus, retention rate, and make your studying time more effective.

Here are some tips on how to disconnect (PDF) from the online world.

Tip 9: Set goals

Setting goals is another way to stay accountable to yourself while studying. Write down your goals to create a tangible sense of achievement once you’re able to cross it off your list. 

Get goal S.M.A.R.T with these handy tips (PDF) from the Student Success Office.

Tip 10: Eat healthy

Eating healthy can be hard during exams, mainly because it feels like you don’t have time to cook a proper meal. But it is important to eat healthy foods so 1) you don’t crash due to a large amount of carbs or sugar and 2) you can be fuelled and focused while studying for and writing exams.

Here are some tips from Health Services to help you boost your energy during exams.

Tip 11: Do all the practice exams and questions

Practice makes perfect. It’s something that has been drilled into our minds since we were children. By re-doing old assignments and answering questions from previous exams you will have the chance to understand what kind of content may be on your exam and prepare for how to answer each question.

Need some tips for studying (PDF)? We have you covered.

Tip 12: Treat yourself

You’re working hard to succeed. Remember that you deserve to do something you enjoy to unwind after a long day of studying, whether that be watching your favourite show, reading a book, hanging out with friends or doing something else fun or relaxing, make sure you take that time to reward yourself.

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