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Study Tips for Exams

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Stressed about Tests?

When important exams approach, you may feel overwhelmed from all this pressure. The good news is – some stress is actually GOOD for you. It can motivate and help you perform at your best. But too much stress can make things even more difficult than they already feel. This is why it’s important to have good study environments, habits, and stress management strategies. Read on to learn ways to keep stress under control and give your exams your best shot!

Before studying

First, choose a great spot for studying!

  • Quiet
  • Tidy
  • Distraction-free
  • Well-supplied (or bring all supplies you’ll need)

Learn about the exam in advance

  • What format is the exam?
  • On which sections/topics are you being tested?

Plan ahead so you have a helpful study guide

  • Break subject areas into manageable chunks
  • Strike things off your list as you go – it lets you track your progress (and it’s satisfying!)
  • Take regular short breaks – this helps you focus better, for longer

While writing the exam

Get organized the night before so there's one less thing on your mind. Gather supplies and plan your breakfast. For suggestions of foods that help your brain, check out medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324044#summary (keep in mind that coffee increases anxiety, so it's best to stick to the other options).

Use the washroom before the test. It's normal to feel like you have to "go" when you are really worried.

Use your breath to your advantage. If you feel stressed before or during the test, focus on your breathing for a few moments. Try counting slowly to three while you inhale, and counting slowly to four while you exhale.

Read through the exam carefully. Underline key words. Consider how much time you have, and allocate that time to the various exam sections. Try to budget time at the end to go back and check your work.

Take a deep breath, and start with the questions you find easiest. This way, you'll get your brain warmed up for the tougher stuff, and if you struggle later, you'll know that part of the exam is already done.

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