Exam and Assessment Week is fast approaching and at the Students' Union, we're ready to give you a helping hand every step of the way. Your Welfare Officer, Tapiwa Makaka has put together some handy do's and don'ts so you can #StressLess in the run up to Exam and Assessment Week.
1. DO PLAN!
You wouldn't try to bake a cake with no ingredients or go to war without an effective battle plan! Take a proactive approach to your success by planning your revision. Do devise an effective study plan. Planning exactly what you are going to review and when is so helpful in keeping yourself accountable, making study habits are effective and avoiding major stress.
2. DO ADJUST YOUR PERSPECTIVE
If you start to feel like it's too much, try to adjust your perspective. This is just a few days or weeks of your life. Sure, it's an important time but this is just the beginning and not the end, whatever result you get. Do try your best at all that you set out to do! Whether it is reading through your notes, doing practice tests or working on an assignment, give 100 percent. Work to the best of your ability by giving the best you possibly can. You've got this!
3. DO ASK QUESTIONS
It is never too late to seek advice or counsel regarding your upcoming assessments and exams - that's what lecturers are there for! They want to answer your questions. A one-to-one session can often put you at ease by showing you where you are going right, and where you may need to change direction. Either way, asking for help is a great way to make sure you are on the right path.
4. DON'T CONSUME CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL AND NICOTINE
Avoid consumption of drinks containing caffeine and nicotine because these are stimulants and will therefore increase your level of stress, rather than reduce it! Do drink more water! Staying hydrated will help your body cope with stress better. Okay, not much of a water drinker? Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities.Not the best stress reliever, contrary to popular belief!
Here are seven hidden and surprising sources of caffeine that serve up an unexpected jolt:
- Protein Bars.
- Decaf Coffee.
- Ice Cream & Yogurt.
- Hot Chocolate.
4. DO PACE YOURSELF
Make sure you stay focused and don’t burn yourself out. A great way to do so is to pace yourself rather than opting for the dreaded all-nighter. You can easily pace yourself by following tips like starting early, creating a study schedule and taking breaks when necessary!
5. DO STUDY FOR THE STYLE OF EXAM
If it’s multiple choice, you’ll need to know definitions and concepts. For essay exams, focus on your understanding of all the concepts presented, with examples in mind.
6. DO HAVE FUN!
If you think about and create actual exam questions and quiz yourself, you are more likely to become more familiar with what you need to study and, in the meantime, familiarise yourself with the type of language that will be on the exam. Draft potential exam questions and quiz yourself so that you can determine what you need to focus on.
7. DO SPEND TIME ORGANISING YOUR NOTES
Evaluate and organize your notes into what’s important, outlining important concepts, formulas, dates and definitions so they’re easy to understand.
8. DO SWITCH IT UP
Switching up your subjects is a helpful way to learn everything for your exams while preventing burnout on one topic. Make sure to switch it up before your eyes glaze over! That way, you can keep studying for longer periods of time while maintaining your focus.
9. DO EAT HEALTHILY
You should also aim to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars - they are contained in many manufactured foods (even in savoury foods such as salad dressings and bread) and can cause energy crashes which may lead you to feel tired and irritable. In general, try to eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet.
10. DO KEEP THINGS COLOURFUL
Create a system that allows you to colour code material that’s going to be on the exam by what’s most important, less important, etc. This will help you focus on the most pertinent information and prioritize the material. Splitting the material into chunks you can actually achieve can be very beneficial. That way, you can keep track of what you’ve accomplished instead of looking at the big picture and getting overwhelmed.
- Tapiwa Makaka (Welfare Officer)