Exam stress affects most students in varying ways. It is important to manage this stress and find little ways of helping to eliminate the risk of burnout. For some students, exams can be a breeze; revision is second nature to them and they could ace an exam with their eyes closed. But for others, sweaty palms and heart palpitations are just a part of the territory, and it seems that nothing is more impossible than sitting down and revising.
How can one handle this stress? Revision is the word that jumps into mind as answer of this question. It helps in both situations whether you are a regular learner or a distant learner. Let us share some interesting ways that are handy and easy enough to grab you out of this mess of exam preparation nightmares.
Here are some handy tips that can help to dissipate stress and make sure you can get through exam season.
1. Take regular breaks and schedule in fun things to look forward to
Even the most intense exam timetables will allow a little time for a study break. This can include 20-minute breaks during your revision day, and longer activities that you can look forward to. Go out for dinner with friends, go to the cinema, attend a gig, anything that you like doing in your spare time that will take your mind off exams. Spending a little time away from the books will leave you feeling more refreshed and relaxed the next time you revise.
2. Exercise and get outdoors
Easily one of the most frustrating things about exam season is that it seems to occur just as the weather brightens up. Use this to your advantage and go out for a walk, or a run, or head to the gym or swimming pool. As well as keeping you healthy, exercise is known to boost your mood and can help to make you more productive while revising.
3. Don’t (always) listen to others
As the old saying goes: “comparison is the thief of joy”. While it is helpful to discuss topics with fellow students and often to revise together, try not to compare other peoples’ revision to your own. Chances are you’re doing just fine, and listening to other people talk about what they’ve learnt will only stress you out and may make you feel like you aren’t progressing as well as them. Plus, if they themselves are stressed this can rub off on to you and other people’s stress is not what you need right now.
4. Speak to someone
If the stress gets to a point where it is overwhelming, and is affecting your day-to-day life, try and speak to someone about it. Your university or school should have a service where you can speak to people about your concerns, and will be able to offer more advice on how to manage it. If that seems like too big a step, open up to a family member or a friend about the pressure you feel. You’ll be amazed to know that you aren’t alone in feeling like this.
HAVE FUN WITH POMODORO TECHNIQUE (TOMATOES)
The core process of the Pomodoro Technique consists of 6 steps:
- Choose a task you want to get done. It can be any topic or thing you want to learn about.
- Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes. Make an oath to yourself that I will spend 25 minutes on this task. You can do it! After all it’s just 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings.
- When Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on the paper that shows you’ve done this task.
- Take a short break. Breathe, walk, have a cup of hot chocolate or do something else relaxing (not work-related). Your mind will thank you later!
- Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
LET’S HAVE FUN WITH FLASHCARDS
Flashcards are a popular way to study. There are various ways to use them, for subjects ranging from foreign language to science. Using flashcards to self-test helps you learn information, and also helps you to identify any weak spots you may have with the material. It is better to discover weaknesses while you are studying, when you can still improve on them, instead of when you are in the middle of a high-stakes test. One common criticism of flashcards is that they encourage students to “just memorize” information, instead of really understanding it. Here I will show you a few ways to use flashcards to add more variety to your understanding and learning of concepts.
The key to implementing this strategy is to make one stack of concept cards, and a second stack of instructions. These instructions will guide you through exploring and understanding the concepts in new ways. Here’s how!
- Use your notes or your textbook to identify key concepts in the material. On one side of a flashcard, write the name of the concept. On the back of the flashcard, write the definition. Once you have made flashcards for all of your concepts, move on to step 2.
- Make a stack of instruction flashcards that invite you to interact with and elaborate on these concepts. Use a different color flashcard or different color pen to keep these separate from your concept flashcards.
- Once you have two stacks of flashcards, you are ready to study! Shuffle both stacks, but keep them separate (color coordination of the flashcards is helpful). Select one card from each stack and follow the instructions in regards to the concept that you selected. It is important to write or say aloud your responses to ensure that you can formulate and execute an answer.
- After you have gone through all of your concept cards, refer back to your notes or textbook for any concepts you had trouble with. Make sure you write or say aloud a correct answer about each concept before moving on.
- Shuffle both stacks and repeat until you are ready to take a break. You can always come back to these cards for a quick study session by yourself or with a friend.
- Make a large stack of instructions and use them for different classes.
- Shuffle together multiple stacks of concept cards and study various subjects at once to take advantage of interleaving and build connections between topics.
- Switch instruction cards with a buddy and see how you do!
HOW DO VOICES HELP FOR EXAMS REVISION?
You can revise a lot of content in an extremely efficient manner, by using audio-visual aids. This has to, of course be complemented with traditional methods of learning. I also used to make voice notes in my phone and then used to play them. They helped me a good deal during my preparation days (in the hindsight, they also cured my insomnia completely). So, if it is you’re thingy, note making is awesome with voice memo. This is the reason why voice memos are considered as hidden teacher because it has better impact at stimulating the senses and also promote efficient learning, understanding, retention & reproduction of information.