This time of year is probably the worst time to be a student -- suddenly everyone is swamped with projects and tests and facing the impending doom of those end-of-year final exams. While the freedom of summer feels close enough to touch, first it’s time to crush those exams. Here are a few ways to execute that flawlessly.
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Everyone wants to push those negative thoughts about exams until the last possible second, and while it’s certainly nice to not have to think about them, it’s also important to start planning early. Take a look at what your schedule will be like and ask your professors questions about those final projects and exams. If you know what you’re facing, it will be a lot easier to prepare. Knowing what you have to do ahead of time can also allow you to start some of that work early, so you aren’t back-loaded later. If you’re a procrastinator, try getting some of your friends to continually encourage you to start -- you want the best grades that you can get, and they want the best for you!
Start gathering all your necessary materials. If you haven’t been very organized up until this point, now is the time -- you need to know where everything is if you want to do well! Sort things by class and start planning out what you’re going to do about each course: create a game plan. If you use a planner, start drafting out a schedule for yourself with what to do and when. There can always be flexibility if something comes up, but having set goals in mind for each day will make it a lot easier and more satisfying to achieve them.
Spread Things Out Evenly
Don’t work solely on one course and then move to the next only when you’re done; you’ll wear yourself out and forget the material before you can actually use it! Do a little bit of everything here and there. It will make everything seem less overwhelming and also help you to retain the information better. Plus, it prevents you from running out of time to work on one course and having to do it all the night before (not the best situation). While it seems logical to finish everything in one fell swoop, dissecting it into bits may actually help you focus better, and it may seem like less of a struggle to power through.
Make Time for Yourself
While studying is important, your mental health is more important than any grade. Take breaks and don’t overload yourself. While “me time” is great when you’ve been stressed about studying, remember not to isolate yourself either. Utilize your support group! Schedule time to hang out with friends -- they probably need a distraction too. That hour or two that you spend doing something else is not going to make or break your final grade. In fact, it may help -- not letting yourself become too stressed and overwhelmed means that you’ll feel more confident and prepared when the time finally comes.
Know That You’ll Be Okay
No matter how much you study and prepare, you may not get the grade that you want. That’s okay! We can’t always get As, so don’t set unrealistic standards for yourself. Having goals is important, but don’t let yourself be too disappointed if you don’t score quite as high as you wanted. If you try your best, that’s all that matters! You are worth more than a letter grade.
If you’re reading this article, that means you care about the results that you receive. While I hope that these tips will help you achieve your goals, remember that no one is perfect, and your satisfaction should come only from the effort that you put in. Now, go and crush those exams. You’ve got this!
Stephanie is an undergraduate student at Washington College. She is an English major with minors in Journalism, Editing, and Publishing, and Justice, Law, and Society. When not writing, you can find her either at a concert, reading a book, or petting a cat.