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Tags: exams , stress, tips
June 1, 2015

Countdown to exams

by Ellie Struewing, Online Features Editor
Exams are right around the corner. That unnerving thought alone leaves many students with bitter tastes in their mouths. And with good reason--the idea of taking up to seven two-hour long exams on an entire semester's worth of knowledge is not a pleasant thought. As you mentally prepare yourself to spend long nights shuffling through piles of old notes and scramble to schedule last-minute study groups, itís important to keep a few things in mind. Hopefully these tips can help ease the pain of semester exams and make the whole process a little more bearable.

The night before:
As tempting as it may be to cram till the wee hours of the morning, do yourself a favor and sleep instead. Having a good nights rest will end up being more helpful than studying through the night will. After all, cramming won't serve you well if you can't even keep your eyes open during the exam.

When you do study, try setting achievable goals with rewards. Whether it's eating some cookies after every textbook chapter or taking a quick social media break for every hour of work that gets done, setting and achieving those checkpoints will make the whole process a lot better. Actually, a social media break may only entail an excess of tweets and Facebook posts from your friends about how exhausting studying is and how much they hate exams...yeah, maybe just stick with the food rewards instead.

The morning of:
Make sure to eat a filling and healthy breakfast! On the other hand, if youíre pressed for time, donuts make a great alternative. Thereís also the plus of the sugar rush that could get you through the day without falling asleep and drooling all over your exam. At this point, you probably know what works for you, but if you want a safe bet, go for healthy foods that will give you the energy you need to get through the day. (Eggs, orange juice, fruit, oatmeal, etc.) Whatever you do, make sure you eat something because there is nothing worse than a silent room with a hungry person in it. Stomachs can make some weird noises.

During the exam:
If you think you might need it, bring a snack to your exam. Eating a snack is a good way to take a mental break between exams. Remember the elementary and middle school MSA days when the school would provide the snack? Whether it was Goldfish or a NutriGrain bar, having that snack was probably the only good part about taking the test. Ah, the good old days.

One problem that many students encounter during exams is the agony of finishing an exam early and having to sit quietly without doing anything for the remainder of the test time. It can be excruciatingly boring.

The first thing you can do to avoid this is situation is to take as much time as you can on the exam. There is no reason whatsoever to rush. In fact, being engaged with the exam is nearly better than sitting and staring at the wall. So donít rush the exam. And check your answers. You might have missed something the first time around.

If you do have extra time though, hereís a few things to help pass the time: See how long you can hold your breath. Try to name every student in the class. Mentally narrate the test coordinators movements in your best ESPN commentator voice. Plan some fun summer adventure ideas. Look at everyone's shoes and pick your favorite and least favorite pair. Write a rap bout the exam you just took. Or just catch up on those Zís you sacrificed to study the night before and take a nap!

Exam time can harbor a lot of stress, but just try your best and donít beat yourself up too much about grades. So take a deep breath, and get going. Good luck, and remember: everything will turn out okay!




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