5 Ways to Thrive (Not Just Survive) During Exam Season
textbooks, papers and flashcards may fill you with dread. But know that we are here to help!
Finals can be manageable if you take the time to prepare. Below, we’ve put together our top five
tips for surviving university exam season. Check them out and make the end of this semester
your smoothest one yet.
1. Know Your Schedule, Make a Plan
Before you start studying, double-check your exam schedule. Write down the day, time and
location of each of your exams. Note when you’ll need to leave in order to get there a few
minutes early, too. If your exams are online, make sure you know where you are going to
access your exam when the time comes.
Once you have your schedule confirmed and in a place where you can easily reference it, make
a plan. And the more detail the better.
Start by making a list of everything you need to cover for each of your finals. Work backward
from there to determine what you need to study each day before the exam. Think through how
much time each component will take you and allot the necessary hours ahead of time.
2. Form a Study Group
This one may be tricky if your work is mostly remote, but it’s not impossible. Studying with a group provides you with greater accountability. You’ll have to show up for study sessions (even
if it’s through video) and you’ll have to contribute.
It also allows you to take a break from independent studying. You’re able to collaborate with
other students and pick up details you may have missed in your own notes. Having a study
group is also a great place to ask last-minute questions.
3. Clear Out Distractions
It’s one thing to focus on studying in a normal year on campus. But the challenges of distance learning take it to a whole other level! That’s why this tip is key. When you’re studying, clear out the distractions.
Maybe that means taking everything off your desk except your study materials. Maybe it means
putting away your phone during study sessions or adding a focus app to your computer. You may need to take regular, 10-minute prayer breaks or ask your housemates or family members
to keep from interrupting you while you study.
Whatever helps you focus, give it a try.
4. Find a Good Study Spot
This leads us into our next point: find a good spot to study. It should be a quiet room where you can focus for 2-3 hours at a time. If there aren’t any spaces open on campus, designate one
room of your house as your study space.
And if you can, try not to make it your bedroom. That’s a space you associate with relaxation
and, of course, sleeping. This can make it harder to stay alert and study well.
If you do have to study in your room, make it a productive study space. During sessions, keep a
bright light on, play some upbeat music and keep things tidy. If you can, face your desk toward
a window or away from your bed.
5. Take Care of Yourself
You may be feeling uncertain about how your exams will go and that can cause stress and
anxiety to creep in. Finals require a lot of work; it’s not surprising that many students experience dips in their mental health as a result.
As hard as it may be to let yourself take a break, do it. If you feel yourself fading, jog around the
block for ten minutes or take a 30-minute power nap. Make a healthy snack or spend some
extra time in prayer or worship.
These little breaks will allow your brain to rest. And speaking of rest, it’s so tempting to skimp on sleep when you’re studying. But you’ll remember and recall information better if you’ve gotten at least 7-9 hours.
Navigate Exam Season With Confidence
Exam season doesn’t have to overwhelm you. You can navigate the heavy workload if you
prepare your mind, space and schedule for what’s to come.
If you are finding it difficult to shake the stress of the upcoming season, check out Frank’s
reflection on slowing down here.