Seven Tips for Surviving Exam Week

QOTD: Please, my friend, share with me us some ways to get through this terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week of tests and deadlines and exams. Anything. 

1) Pandora is your best friend. Or Spotify, or Youtube or whatever means you use to listen to music. When I’ve got my headphones on, I stay in the zone and have a lower chance of falling asleep over my notes. And when you’re tapping a foot or typing with your fingers to the beat of your favorite band, studying just becomes that much more fun. For some sweet tunes, check out Mipso Trio

2) You are allowed to take a break. If you sit and read your Econ notes/write that history paper/stare at the same psychology textbook for hours at a time, you might get a lot done but you’ll lose steam and eventually collapse. To maximize your studying, consider walking across the quad and back, taking a power nap, getting some yofro or even *gasp* checking Facebook. (Obviously, writing this blog post counts as my break.) The point is to recharge your brain battery – once your tank of mental fuel is full again, get back to work. But this time, you’ll feel much more energized and ready to tackle those demand curves. 

3) Study with a friend. Not five or three or even two. Studying in groups can make you lose focus. For me, I end up looking over to see what my other friends are working on and judging my own progress. But if you study with one good friend, then you can keep each other accountable and serve as company during breaks.

Most importantly, you should study with a friend so you can make sure he wakes you up after that 15-minute nap. (I tried studying at home on Wednesday night and fell asleep at 10 p.m. I woke up at 3:40 a.m. thinking it was already morning. Not good.)

4) Measure the quality of your studying. If you’re like me, then you’ve been counting the hours you’ve been in the library. Yesterday, I was at the library for eight hours. Today, only four hours. I feel like Ernie Macmillan, except not quite as boss. A, er, more productive way to measure the quality of your studying is looking back at the end of the day and seeing how much you’ve covered. Pat yourself on the back when you finish each day’s work, and then plan out what lessons or chapters you’d like to work on tomorrow. 

5) Exam week is a great excuse to eat as much as you want. I stayed up late last night memorizing 200 Chinese characters and nomming on a Marie Callender Chicken Piccata dish, one whole bag of Smartfood popcorn, chocolate, and then carrots and hummus. Nothing like studying at 1 a.m. to get your stomach grumbling! 

6) Take advantage of your professor’s review sessions. Truth: You can only gain from going to them. Is there a concept you’re still hazy on? Are you still trying to figure out problem #19 on the practice final exam? Ask questions – this is your last chance! And–I know this is a long shot–try to stay engaged with what you are learning. Some of this stuff about the digestive system is actually pretty interesting! 

7) Keep your chin up. Soon it will be summer, you’ll finally be able to go home and eat Mom’s food and get ready to start that job/internship/travel abroad experience you’ve been waiting for for so long. Exam season is long, but it doesn’t last forever.

3 responses to “Seven Tips for Surviving Exam Week”

  1. Good luck surviving your exam week! It sounds like you’re working really, really hard.

    Great list of tips.

    The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective

  2. Hopeful Life says:

    GOOD LUCK surviving finals! One thing that helps me is exercising in some way–getting the heart rate up. If I feel like I’m falling asleep on my work, I put my Ipod on my list labeled “Pump Up Jam” and do 15 jumping jacks and do a walk around. Another thing to keep me awake, especially if I am trying to stay away from caffeine in tea/coffee, is ICE COLD WATER! Lastly, a power nap always helps me! You’ll be great on your finals! :) Push!

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