Exams are only a week away here at SIBT, and for some, there’s only a week left until they’re ready to start their journey at Western Sydney University, Sydney City Campus (this could be you!). But even for our most experienced SIBT veterans, exam weeks can be some of the most stressful and challenging times of the year.
But don’t worry!
There’s still time left to prepare. To help you out, we’ve put together some of our favourite strategies to get yourself ready to ace those exams. And remember, if you’re ever feeling stuck or overwhelmed by the stress of your studies, our Student Counsellors are always there for you. Now, how about those top tips?
Make a study plan!
To avoid cramming everything last second, spacing your study out over a longer timeframe with a study plan is a no-brainer. Not only will this decrease your stress levels the night before an exam, but it also leaves you time to double-check anything you’re unsure of with your teacher.
Obviously, the earlier you start planning, the better, but it’s also equally important to be realistic with your planning. The last thing you want to do is make an unreasonable schedule with heavy study loads in short periods of time.
It’s also helpful to plan your study by topics rather than subjects. Don’t just say, “I’ll study Intro to Software Design for 3 hours on Thursday”, have a specific topic in mind to review and break it up into manageable chunks of time. Make sure to take your attention span into account; you don’t want to be sitting around “studying” one subject for ages.
Lastly, make sure to include some down-time. You don’t want to risk burning yourself out by overstudying, so set a goal to study for a few hours and then reward yourself with some well-earned rest. Make sure to schedule in this time to relax and maybe watch a show, take a nap, or go for a walk. By building this time into your plan, you’ll be less likely to overload yourself with an unrealistic workload. If you decide you’d like some help getting a study plan going, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Learning Support Officers!
Mix up your study methods
Some people spend all their time reading, re-reading, and re-writing their notes, while others just skim their notes once and go straight to some practice questions. When studying for a final exam, it’s important to blend these methods and do a bit of both.
Try starting out by re-reading your notes, and re-write all the important details together in another spot. This way you’re focused on what really matters, and can take all the fluff out to highlight the most crucial information. Once you’ve done this you can move on to practise questions and past exams to put your understanding to the test, making sure you’re really getting what you’ve learned.
Keep on top of your health
Your physical health can have an enormous impact on your concentration, answer speed, and memory, so make sure you’re staying healthy in the leadup to exams. You might feel like you don’t have time for it, but don’t slack off your workout routine! Physical activity helps clear your mind, so you’re more likely to feel in control of your situation. Also, try to eat healthy, vitamin rich “brainfood” and stay hydrated, particularly on exam days and the days before.
Just as important as exercise and food choice is SLEEP! Often, and tragically, overlooked by students, a good night’s sleep helps ensure that your body and mind are rested and ready to take on whatever you throw at them. It might be tempting to load up on caffeine right before an exam, but if you walk in tired or crash off coffee halfway through, you’ll struggle to remember things that would have otherwise been easy. If you’ve made yourself a good study plan, and followed it well, you should have no problem getting a good night’s rest before an exam since you won’t need to cram until 3 AM.
In the Leadup to the Exam…
It’s important to know when to stop. If you’re up at night panicking that you’re not ready right before an exam, take a deep breath and be realistic; if you don’t know your stuff by now, a few more hours of late-night study isn’t going to change that. It’s better to get some rest and recharge your brain to make the most of what you do know rather than lose sleep over what you don’t.
While everyone has their own study style that works for them, incorporating some of these strategies can help reduce stress and keep your studies under control. Even if you’re a caffeine warrior who needs no sleep, making a study plan, mixing up your study methods, and staying healthy are great places to start when exam time rolls around.
Exams can be stressful, especially for our diploma students on the 8 month fast track program, but with these tips and the extensive student support we offer here at SIBT you’ll be able to go into those exams more confident than ever.
If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our student support staff, because SIBT is here for you every step of the way.