How to Efficiently Prepare for Your Exams
No matter how confident you are, exams are a stressful time to go through. Now that the online environment has become the norm for taking them, many changes linger on the horizon, and yet the stress of it all remains the same. The only thing you can do is to come prepared.
In that spirit, adopting the following practices will serve you well.
1. Divide and conquer
Dividing the materials you need to study into smaller, digestible chunks is much better than trying to go through it all in a single cram session. In other words, no one can eat a mammoth in one single bite. But in bite-sized chunks, it’s a piece of cake. Moreover, this approach is also much easier on your memory, as you’ll give your subconscious plenty of time to drill in what you’ve learned.
2. Remove distractions
If you’re not operating at your maximum and giving it 100% when studying for an exam, you’re not optimally using your time. In other words, if you’re only operating at 50%, you’re going to need to invest twice as much time to accomplish the same goal. Therefore, anything that’s taking away from your focus should be dealt with.
Does your smartphone keep buzzing and alerting you about things that are not relevant to the task at hand? Put it away. Do the kids keep yelling over one another while you’re trying to concentrate? Shut the door. You know the drill.
3. Devise a plan
It’s much better to have a concrete step-by-step plan prepared instead of staring at a big chunk of unknowns and variables. That way, you’ll be able to laser-focus on the exact topics you need to be studying and accommodate the schedule to fit your battle-plan. Without this approach, you’ll often find yourself stumbling in the dark, not knowing what the next step is or what lies ahead of you. There is no greater satisfaction than ticking the last item off your to-do list.
4. Know your best-performing hours
Most people perform their best in the first one or two hours after waking up, but you may very well find yourself preferring the stillness of the night. Either way, the idea is to pinpoint the time of day you tend to be the most productive and keep it reserved for the most important tasks that need to be done. This applies to every aspect of life that has something to do with setting a goal and accomplishing it.
5. Tend to your needs
Even if you were to give it your hardest try, how effective do you think you’ll be trying to study while under-slept, hungry, or irritated? These things take away from your concentration; hence, they need to be dealt with accordingly. The goal is to set up an optimal state for studying. For example, if you're too tired, don’t try to force yourself into it. It’s much better to call it a day and continue at a later date.
6. Prepare your materials in advance
What’s the first step you must take before you begin studying? It’s searching for the materials and arranging it all in a single, easily-accessible place. To put it another way, searching for things is a different task than trying to absorb the information, and multitasking is bad for productivity. Simultaneously, you should take the steps necessary to protect your privacy when searching online since the search engines may track your search queries and sell them to a third-party.
A good way to do that is to take advantage of a VPN free trial. (Read more: https://nordvpn.com/risk-free-vpn/) If you want to protect yourself and your sensitive data, then this is the easiest way to do that.
7. Take regular breaks (and reward yourself)
The idea is to avoid bringing yourself to the brink of exhaustion. Instead, take regular breaks to replenish your strengths and stay on top of your goals. The fact of the matter is that you only have a limited supply of focus per day (and each burst of productivity only lasts for so long), so use it wisely and don’t try to wrestle with your brain.
A good rule of thumb is to do 30 minutes of studying, then do 20 minutes of something that relaxes you (could be yoga, video games, or whatever you perceive to be fun and rewarding). Note that these values are not definitive and are very much tweakable to your preferences, so treat them as suggestions rather than something that’s set in stone.
Put these into practice, and you’ll be as prepared as you can be for your exam regardless of the field you’re studying. Best of luck to you!