As the exams draw nearer, a lot of students fall in the traditional panic. There’s so much to review or even learn, so many assignments to hand in. It’s time to improve relationships with professors and ask buddies to exchange notes. All of a sudden there’s a tsunami of information to process and memorize.
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So, continuing the tradition, sleepless nights and gallons of coffee enter students’ lives. Such a lifestyle always leads to pitfalls that may jeopardize the whole effort. Besides, higher levels of cortisol won’t do you any good, so check out what the hazards are and how to avoid them.
Pitfall #1: Burnout and Exhaustion
Reviewing volumes of material creates an overload that leads to total burnout. Your energy levels drop so much that you can’t comprehend new information. But your body is so stressed out that you may not be able to sleep either.
Coping with Burnout and Exhaustion
Here are some tips and tricks to help you ease or even get rid of exhaustion:
- Take a walk. Go outside and get some fresh air, allow it to distract you. Listen to your favorite music, visit your favorite places, look at the sky and appreciate the time when you can forget about exams
- Have lunch with friends. Seek support and comfort while having lunch with your friends or family. Let your worries out instead of grilling them over and over from the moment you wake up.
- See the big picture. Look back at all the work you’ve done, think of how you can save time without losses in review material. Think calmly, without panic, because you’re doing a good job.
There’s a lot more useful information on avoiding burnout and saving your exam week here.
Pitfall #2: Loss of Focus
Trying to prepare for several exams simultaneously will lead to the loss of focus. Multitasking isn’t the best way to save time. It’s much better to focus on one most urgent discipline. Focused studying increases productivity and speed of learning.
Check out some of the simple ways to regain focus:
- Try mindfulness meditation. Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Do your best not to think about anything else, only the sound, feel, temperature of your breath. Do it for 3-5 minutes and come back to work.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Learn to sort out what’s redundant while you’re studying. If you’re preparing for a physics exam, don’t think about the English test you have next week or a date you have tomorrow.
- Take a short break. If you feel like you’re going to explode from the volume of information, give your brain an opportunity to reset. Overload will do more harm and good to your preparation.
Pitfall #3: Lack of Structure
Last-minute preparations are often super chaotic, which undermines the success of the whole mission. No matter how much time you have left, plan every step of reviewing. Otherwise, it will be much easier to miss something or give up to panic. As a result, you won’t memorize anything because you’ll be too stressed out.
You’ll feel much more comfortable during the day if you do two things: create a schedule and develop healthy studying habits. Getting used to this new lifestyle may be difficult at first. But once you see the results, you’ll never come back to the destructive habits you used to have.
Check out these tips on establishing the structure of the day:
- Pace your studies. Take an hour on material review and have a 20-minute break afterwards.
- Organize your space. Find a quiet place at home, school, café, library, etc. where you can create an organized study bubble.
- Quit re-reading notes. If you can’t find sense in the notes that you have, search for other sources with the same material.
- Eliminate distractions. During that study hour, make sure you don’t get distracted by calls, messages, social media, TV, snacking, etc.
The Way Out Starts with a Small but Important Step
Taking a deep breath and allowing yourself a break is a crucial step in holding it together. The exam week is horrifyingly stressful by nature, the idea of someone evaluating your knowledge is daunting. The basis here is the fear that you don’t know something or will forget it during the exam. That’s where the panic begins, and you should not allow it in the first place.
Outline your day just like you outline your essay. Allow yourself to relax and take a look at the work you’ve already done. Start early to be able to divide the material and get enough sleep. Outsource the less important assignments to writing services. Take care of yourself and your brain will take care of the review!
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