How to prepare yourself for exams
Are you in exam time?
Studying for tests can be challenging, and sometimes we are unable to think about where to start.
But there are various strategies to develop your concentration levels, memory, and uplift your mood. We gathered a wealth of research by neuroscientists, psychologists, and nutritionists, as well as wise recommendations from college professors, teachers, and students, and we've come up with some important tips.
There is still a lot you can really do to study more efficiently, learn study techniques that work, and stay positive.
These tips will help you stay cognitively fit and improve your learning.
Breakfast and food for the brain.
To work properly, our bodies need energy, and the brain's ability to focus comes from an adequate and constant supply of energy in the form of glucose. Research shows that students who eat breakfast do better on tests because it is easier for them to concentrate and remember information.
So be sure to begin your day with carbohydrates like low sugar cereals such as oatmeal or whole-wheat bread, that will slowly unleash energy throughout the morning.
Start studying long before the test date. It will make you less confused and calmer.
Also, try studying in the morning when your brain is fresh and well-rested. Do not leave the review for the afternoon, when there is a possibility that you are more tired.
It would be best if you establish a routine with studying: make it a goal to start and finish studying at around the same time each day.
Establish what you need to focus on.
Is it an oral exam? Written exam or a practice?
Different types of tests require different approaches. Discover your test format, and you'll know how much of the studies need to program review.
It may look like a lot of work, but doing a study plan will really save you time (you won't waste a minute deciding what to review on a day-to-day basis), and you will be capable of tracking your progress.
Make as detailed a schedule as possible, including any relevant documents or notes to review, and stick to it.
"Space" can be your best ally.
Spread out your study periods and don't even think about overwhelming yourself. It is much better to have one-hour study sessions for five days than to study a topic for 5 hours in a day.
According to psychologists and neuroscientists, "self-assessment" could be one of the most effective ways to improve your ability to remember information.
The approach also allows you to understand the concept and not only memorize it. It also provides you an opportunity to check if there are any kinds of shortcomings in your learning.
One of the finest techniques to self-assess is to summarize or simply test yourself at the end of a study session.
Become a teacher.
So, you checked, you self-assessed what's next? Go and show the content to someone else!
Be smart and put that phone away.
Phones have their advantages, but not when you're studying. Social networks and chat applications will lead you to distraction or torment you with the FOMO "fear of missing out."
It has been proven; the more time you spend on your phone, the lower your grades.
And don't confuse yourself into believing that you can just leave it on the table and not touch it. According to one study, just looking at your phone up close will be enough to break your ability to concentrate.
Less music, more silence.
Students who study in a peaceful setting can remember better than those who review while listening to music.
In particular, introverts should heed this advice, as they are more likely to be distracted by background music than extroverts.
Regular breaks, fresh air, and exercise.
Studying effectively does not mean constant review. Two or more breaks between study sessions give the brain a better chance of assimilating what is just working memory.
Also, your body and your mind are intrinsically linked. Exercise gets the blood flowing, brings more oxygen to the brain, and helps it function better - just what you need during the exam period.
Not to mention the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature and the fact that regular exercise helps reduce anxiety and promotes self-esteem.
Plus, getting some fresh air will make you more likely to return to your desk refreshed and better able to focus afterward.
Sleep adequate and at the right time.
Of course, you will need to get a good night's sleep before an exam, but this applies to the entire study period.
Going to sleep at a reasonable time means you can get up early, well-rested, and ready to tackle that day's study plan.
Don't tempt yourself to stay awake all night, and watch out for perfectionism as it could interfere with your rest.
Sometimes studying at night is unavoidable, but try to keep these cases to a minimum. Be consistent with bedtime and stay away from screens at night.
Calm and positive.
You have a wealth of advice from leading psychologists, neuroscientists, and education professionals to help you learn better, so make the most of it.
After all, you are better equipped than any previous generation of students on how to improve your memory, mood, and concentration.
So, during the study process, try to remain calm and optimistic, and if you had a bad day, don't let that affect how you study the next day.
The key is figuring out how to study in the most effective way and sticking with it as best you can.
And to finish, remember to compensate yourself once you have finished the exams!