Four Tips to Get You through Exam Season

Posted by Rebecca on November 24, 2015

A YU Perspective

Outside of Vari Hall at York University

The Winter semester is coming to a close, which means we have entered a fifth season  exam season. The weather forecast tends to be dark, cool and dreary with light showers of stress ahead. But guess what? You don’t have to endure exam period that way! With the right tips and guidance from yours truly, exam season can be productive and not make you feel like a zombie by the end of it.

1) Make a Study Schedule
Don’t let your readings and notes pile up the night before the exam! Cramming tends to be glamorized as the “cool” way to study, but realistically, it only makes you overworked and ultimately leaves you unprepared. On a calendar or an agenda, mark off exactly when your exam is and divide your studying based on chapters or readings over a couple of days. Personally, I like to cross-reference my exam study sheet with my syllabus and prioritize which readings or chapters cover the most material that will appear on the exam. We all know it’s hard to read everything.

2) A Little Help from Your Friends
Study groups are another key ingredient for exams! You can assign exam questions among your group members and come together to discuss the answers. More heads are better than one, and you’ll be able to work through difficult questions together rather than having to struggle alone. Besides, helping someone else understand a topic always allows you to gain new insights yourself. You’d be amazed; it never fails!

3) Take Regular Breaks
Exam season is two weeks long, so it’s best to not only plan how you’ll study but also how you’ll unwind. You are doing yourself a disservice if you’re exhausting your body to the point of restlessness and anger. Afraid your breaks might lead to procrastination? Try the 50/10 method: set a timer to study for 50 minutes, and use the final 10 minutes of the hour for a break. On your break, avoid mind-numbing activities like watching TV, but do things that still engage your mind. Refer to this helpful info graphic for ideas!

Infographic describing fifty ways to take breaks
Karen Horneffer-Ginter’s 50 Ways to Take a Break. Image Source


4) Take Care of Yourself
Now that you’ve successfully studied and prepared for your exam, make sure you’re ready to tackle the actual thing. Get at least seven hours of sleep the night before and eat a solid breakfast. Make sure to also pack writing utensils and other exam materials in your bag the night before so you have it handy the next day. Next step? Get ready to ace that exam!

Make sure to also check out the exam prep workshops offered by Learning Skills Services, as well as my colleague’s Sam’s suggestions for keeping calm during exam season.

What are your exam tips? Let us know in the comments or tweet me @yorkustudents! And best of luck!


Note: This post was updated on April 6, 2017.


Rebecca M. is a third-year English major. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Rebecca

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    Thank you Rebecca .

    You have a lovely message and a great spirit. good luck

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