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PREPPING FOR YOUR EXAMS… Without losing your mind!

2017-03-25 by Mark Harrington

College exams can be tough and all of our students will experience the examination stress at some point throughout their National Academy education.  That being said, remaining calm and focused can make all the difference between an excellent or mediocre test score.

Often, poor performance on an exam can be related to a negative mindset and poor study habits.  Stress, anxiety and a lack of confidence can negatively impact test performance which is why it is important to mentally prepare for exams.

Be Realistic

Exam worries often come from a fear of the unknown. Not knowing what to expect can create panic. Overcome this panic by asking your Instructor for examples of past examination questions to get a realistic idea of what is about to come.

Organize Your Notes

When prepping your notes for studying, categorize all related material into sub-headings, charts, bullet points, and diagrams. Too much written material can be off-putting. By breaking up your work, exam preparation can become more productive and hands on, making it easier to retain an abundance of information.

Thoughtful Reminders

The brain remembers and absorbs information especially well just before you fall asleep. Every night before waking up to study or write an exam, say to yourself: “I will work hard and remain focused so that I can perform to the best of my ability from a calm and relaxed state”. This will get your morning started in the right way!

Not All Stress is “BAD” Stress!

Exam stress doesn’t always have to be negative – it’s designed to prompt you into action, so use it to your full advantage. In small amounts, stress can encourage you to work harder and think faster.

Time Management

Time-management is one of the key skills for effective revision. Stress often comes from the belief that you are running out of time to prepare; by allocating time blocks for each important topic nothing will be missed and your worries will disappear.

Study With A Friend or Group

It’s good to know others are in the same boat as you. During exam preparation, find a group or even just one other classmate to study with. This strategy will hold each of you accountable to one another, and it makes revision more interactive and enjoyable.

Put Things in Perspective

When exams are upon you, it’s difficult to think about anything else. Place your examinations in perspective – the world will not end if you fail.

Generate a Positive State

Take 5 minutes before every test or exam to fill your mind with positive material (like how hard you worked to get where you are today and the hard effort you put into learning the material) and allow yourself to get fired up for action.

Don’t Aim For Perfection

Exam stress often comes from the fear of making mistakes. Mistakes are not only an unavoidable component of exams, but life in general.  Learn from your mistakes by understanding what you did wrong and take the lesson with you throughout your career.

For more information on Exam Preparation and Study Tips and Habits, speak with your Campus Director to schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of the many counsellors at your National Academy campus. 

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