By PLA Amy
In first year, my friends and I called the December exam period “Examerama.” We felt this encapsulated the game show feeling of exams: “here’s contestant one – running on four hours of sleep, pumped by Red Bull, all geared up for her Psychology exam, she is frantically whipping through notes with five minutes on the clock!”
See what I mean? We took immense pleasure in making a very stressful time seem somewhat humorous, like we were all players in a game of chance. Truthfully, exam time doesn’t have to feel like “Examerama.” It doesn’t have to be a theatrical rush to the finish, or a frantic battle of you versus the textbook. It can be – wait for it – drama free!
There’s nothing worse than exam “surprises,” those moments when you realize you have missed a chapter or overestimated the time you had to study. Reducing surprises eliminates the drama of “Examerama.” But how?
- Make yourself a schedule that incorporates everything possible. At our office in Stauffer (room 143), we offer a December study schedule that helps build organizational skills and confidence. Using a schedule ensures you manage your time properly, and take proper breaks.
- Read over the syllabus of every single course. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the exam descriptions or buzzwords of the course, or certain readings from weeks way back. Go through your lecture notes to make sure they’re all there, and that you’ve done all the readings. If you feel you’re missing something, talk with the prof or fellow classmates to fill the gaps.
- Find a good study space. Studying with anxious friends or panicking classmates will not help you achieve peace of mind. Instead, locate a private space, somewhere quiet and close enough to a washroom. Libraries and other buildings have great nooks and crannies for you to find! If you plan on studying in a group, avoid rehashing the drama of the course and succumbing to complaints; instead, focus on the material itself, and collectively brainstorm solutions to challenges.
- Avoid doing what every student loves to do before an exam: talk with all the other students waiting! You will feed off each other’s nervous jitters and lose your focus. Those ten minutes before your exam shouldn’t be as melodramatic as your favourite reality TV show, so step to the side and tune out the chatter. Breathe!
Good luck on your “Examerama,” without the drama!