It feels like the college semester just started. Wasn’t it last week when everyone filed into their auditoriums or logged onto their Zoom classes after a leisurely holiday break?
This winter has flown by, which is both good and bad. It’s good that you’re getting through what can conservatively be described as an “unconventional” year of college. But it’s bad because – well – final exam season is creeping up quickly.
You don’t have to kick into full survival mode just yet, but you can take some proactive steps to ensure this exam season goes smoothly. In this quick guide, let’s look at a few different ways to prepare for, organize and manage the stress of your upcoming study schedule.
Get Organized: Create a Prioritized Study Plan
First things first: you need an organizational system. Everyone’s plan will look a little different, but you can consider these three factors:
- Time: When’s your first exam? When’s your last? A popular method for organizing study is based on exam timeline, which means you focus on course material in the same order as your exams appear.
- Difficulty: To complicate the “timeline method,” some courses are objectively more difficult than others. Regardless of their placement in your exam schedule, allocate more of your energy to these challenging subjects.
- Chunking: “Chunking” is an academic term for essentially breaking down concepts into bite-sized pieces. Do the work initially to lay out a roadmap of all the “chunks” you need to study and create a scheduled plan based on that.
In the end, do whatever you think will work best for you.
Keep Calm and Focused: Try Lion’s Mane Powder
Caffeine is suitable for a morning pick-me-up but, used throughout the day, it can affect your sleep schedule. And you do not want to mess around with your sleep schedule during exams.
Instead, try lion’s mane mushrooms – a natural alternative that helps improve mental focus, clarity and cognitive health. You can find this powerful adaptogen in pre-packaged sachets of powder, ready to mix with your favorite beverage – tea, smoothie or plain old water.
Remove Distractions: Declutter Your Study Space
Ever heard the adage, “mess is stress”? As it turns out, this old saying is actually supported by psychological studies. Visual clutter, like the kind you may have lying around in your dorm room, creates excess visual stimuli, which the brain then has to work overtime to interpret.
Therefore, messier study spaces are less conducive to focused studying. If you’re room-bound, consider tidying up before you hit the books. If you’re able to leave, find a quiet nook somewhere (the library works perfectly) that you can concentrate.
Take Care of Yourself: Eat and Sleep Well
Finally, if you’re to sustain the required level of focus and concentration throughout exam season, you have to take care of yourself. That means getting a consistent amount of sleep – ideally, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day – and eating healthily. Studies show that improvements to both diet and sleep schedule positively affect mood, focus and cognitive function.
Aside from the four tips above, remember one overarching piece of advice: just breathe. Before you know it, exams will be over, and you’ll be celebrating all the hard work you put into making this exam season one for the books!