January 13, 2014

Finals and stress ( MondayTalk #1)

For all the students out there, I know you fell my stress and panic for the beginning of the final exams and the handing in of projects. If you live in Romania or have a similar educations system, then probably you are knee deep in test and project right about now.

I like to joke about being a professional test giver and that that is my major but on a serious note, I know how stressful this time is and not being my first rodeo, I have some tricks and tips for before final period/during so that nobody has a nervous breakdown or anything.

  1. Drink lots of water! Do not count on those unnatural, full of sugar and other nasty ingredients drinks to get your energy from. It is way more healthier and also it helps you more if you stay nice and hydrated drinking water.
  2. Get enough sleep! I for one have seven exams in two weeks so I know I am going to be pressed for study time but it is important to get as much done while I am rested so that all of the information has time to sink in.
  3. Eat healthy! I know the urge to stuff ones face with unhealthy trans fats is big while in the process of stuffing ones head with knowledge, but remember, if you have a healthy diet it can actually help with concentrating and also not falling asleep. Instead of a bag of chips try an apple. The natural juice not only helps wake you up but also busts your immune system so you don't get the sniffles.
  4. Take 10-15min breaks every two hours! Unless you are in the zone and so concentrated that if you take a break it will mess things up or you are in the middle of getting to the bottom of a problem you have been struggling with for some time, then there is no excuse not to take a breather. And do not make the stupid mistake of checking your phone or email or seeing whats on TV. You should relax. Maybe do some stretches so that you wake yourself up more or make a tea.
  5. Get a kind of study-buddy! The reason why I say kind of study-buddy is because in some cases it can be distracting. The way I find it the most beneficial is talking to someone about a subject after I have gone over it at least a couple of times. This way we don't end up just flipping through notes and not actually discussing the issues we might have. One of us might have understood a part of the course better and can explain. The "wise" person revises and the other one learns. It's a win-win situation. 
  6. Give yourself enough time to study! I know everyone can get easily distracted when they are studying and facebook, pinterest, tumblr and youtube are a think but remember, they will be there just fine when the finals are over. I see finals as a culmination of all the hard work you put in during the semester, so why not give it your all?
  7. Find the perfect study place! You want to go in a quiet place with an outlet and internet connection. Also it should be comfy enough but not to the point where it invites you for a slumber party. Also if you choose to skype with friends(like I do because I live at home and I am too lazy to see them in person. Also Google Drive is a thing.) make sure not to bother others because just like you, nobody wants to be bothered when they are actually studying.  
  8. Find exams from past years! Be sure to befriend at least one fellow student that is a higher grade than you, this way you can ask for opinions on certain classes and professors and also you can get a better idea of how an exam might look like. Professors don't bother too much to change the content of an exam from one year to the next so make sure you get your hands on the previous years exam paper.
  9. Go to your last lecture/class! Professors usually give out hints on what the exam might contain so be sure to pay attention. Don't just learn what the professor tells you in the last class but make a mental note to go over it for at least one extra time, you never know.
  10. Give it your all! There is no point in failing from lack of trying. So give it 110% every each time. If you don't go to all your classes( which I sure don't) then get the lectures from a group-mate or find the lectures online.  Go through your notes at least three times and make sure to understand every topic in the class, you never know what the exam is going to look like.

So these are all my tips, I hope they help. It took me two final exam periods and two arrears exams to figure out what works for me and what doesn't ( staying up all night, eating junk food and trying to make sense of things when I am tired, does not work).  Remember to stay positive and motivated no matter what!

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