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How To Study For Exams (At the Last Minute)

The time we’ve all been dreading has come: exam week! Exams can be a daunting idea, especially after their absence in schools for the past two years due to the pandemic. Numerous people are feeling out of practice when it comes to final exams, and are unsure of where to start preparing for them. However, have no fear, there are plenty of tried and true methods to make the most out of any study session (even if you’ve waited until the last minute).

Organization is key. Decide which class will be the most difficult and set aside the most time for that subject. Then plan out the rest of your study schedule from there. It may be helpful to divide up the entire exam content into smaller, more manageable portions; making a list of 3-5 concepts to focus on at a time until you feel confident enough to move on. It is important to take breaks, even if time runs short. Regular breaks create a refreshed mind and increase concentration. Set a timer for 15 minutes of work, and then take a break: stand up, take a short walk, or grab a snack. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to work instead of pushing through and not retaining anything you study. 

Understanding how you learn best is another vital factor in making the most out of your study sessions. Some learn well from flashcards, using Quizlet, or having someone hold up flashcards and study with you. Repetition is another good strategy; write down a concept over and over until it sticks. For those motivated by rewards, do just that. After finishing a certain amount of pages in your textbook or finishing a page of problems, treat yourself! Go get a snack or watch an episode of your favorite tv show. Just be careful not to get carried away. If you learn best through listening; watching some youtube videos on the subject or finding a helpful podcast, then taking notes as you’re listening can be a good place to start. 

A change in your environment can be a game-changer when it comes to studying. Trying to get work done while in your room can become futile. There are too many distractions and it may be easy to become too comfortable or in the worst-case scenario (although it happens to the best of us), you might fall asleep. Instead, try going to a coffee shop, a library, or even a friend’s house to help hold yourself accountable and keep you motivated as you’re studying. 

Exams don’t have to be stressful. Stay on top of what needs to be done. If you are still stressed out, remember it will not be the end of the world if you don’t do as well as you hoped on your exam. In five years, your high school exams will probably never cross your mind. That said, you should still do your best while valuing your mental health. Good Luck on exams everyone!

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