How You Can Survive Exam Season Without Losing Your Mind

Are you looking for how to study in college? As I look through this article, I’m ten years removed from the college system and all I can say is that I wish someone shared these tips with me back then.

Instead of studying, here you are reading content on my site. The least that I can do is help you survive exam season since you’re still reading.

How can you get through your next exam season? How do you study in college?

How to study in college

Let me reassure there’s nothing wrong with procrastinating once in a while. You’re not a robot. I do my best cleaning when I have a deadline. With that being said, I honestly never thought that I could get through college exams when I was a high school student. I was the worst student in high school. I never studied properly and I always left everything to do the last minute.

When I started college, I realized that I had to take this seriously because there was money on the line. When you see what college tuition costs, you instantly find motivation. I didn’t want to throw my money away by not taking my exams seriously. I also didn’t have anyone to turn to since I was the first in my family to attend college. I had to pick up these tips the old fashioned way.

How do you survive exam season as a college student?

Exam season survival tip #1: Make space in a preferably a comfortable setting.

You want to be comfortable when you study with access to everything that you need so that you don’t find an excuse to walk around and get distracted. It’s important to be in a space where you’re comfortable and have access to all of your notes within arm’s length. For some people their room is the best spot for them to study. For others it’s the school library or a coffee shop. Whatever the case may be, ensure that you’re in a setting that promotes productivity.

We all have our own place where we can get in the zone. I can’t tell you where this is. I do my best writing in coffee shops because I want to get out. I also sometimes put the best words out when I’m typing away in bed.

Exam season survival tip #2: Cut off the world so that you can focus.

Social media is apart of our lives and it’s here to stay. You just want to limit your access to social media when you’re trying to focus.

One thing that I need to stress is that you MUST turn off your MSN messenger, Facebook (if humanly possible), Instagram, and cell phone when you’re trying to study. These items are simply a distraction that prevent you from getting your work done. The sooner you stop talking about who wore what on the weekend, the sooner you may begin with your studies.

Exam season survival tip #3: Set a small goal.

Before you begin any studying or assignment you should set a goal for a specific target. A common goal to set is to complete your current assignment by the end of the day so that the next day you may begin a new one. If you’re studying for an exam then set a goal of what topic you want to fully cover before you complete your studying for that time frame.

The trick is to set small goals. I used to tell myself how I wanted to study for 8 hours straight. That’s clearly unrealistic. Small goals force you to sit down and actually do something.

Here are examples of small goals to set when studying during finals season:

  • Read for 20 minutes.
  • Write out a concept you’re struggling with.
  • Solve a problem for 15 minutes.
  • Review your notes for 30 minutes with your morning coffee.

Exam season survival tip #4: Bring your favourite beverage.

You don’t want to totally deprive yourself since you already feel isolated from the world. I try to grab a coffee or water when I’m studying so that I have something to sip on.

If it’s an alcoholic beverage then you’re out of luck and chances are you’ll get too wasted to get anything done.

Exam season survival tip #5: Take a break every 60-90 minutes.

Don’t take a five every five. Take a break after at least an hour of intense studying to ensure that you don’t burn out. You may also want to try power naps so that you’re refreshed. You get more done when you’re awake and focused.

Believe me, I have told myself many times I will study 5 hours straight, it’s just not possible. It’s also difficult to do anything when you’re not getting the proper sleep.

In the book, “Why We Sleep” it’s mentioned by Dr. Matthew Walker how truly critical sleep is when studying:

“Of the many advantages conferred by sleep on the brain, that of memory is especially impressive, and particularly well understood. Sleep has proven itself time and again as a memory aid: both before learning, to prepare your brain for initially making new memories, and after learning, to cement those memories, and prevent forgetting.”

Exam season survival tip #6: Reward yourself at the end of it all.

It’s important to reward yourself.

Once you reach your goal for the day or complete your assignment, then go do something that you enjoy. Hopefully you don’t go and get completely wasted after every assignment. A good option is to watch a movie you’ve been meaning to see or to meet up with a friend. I also believe in planning something big to look forward to at the end of exam season. You want something to look forward to.

That’s how you study in college. I wish you all the best with your exams. Cheers to your success. Just please remember to have a drink for me when you ace that exam!

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