The ultimate guide to surviving exam season

December 1, 2015 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Sara Alhattab, student experience intern

stressHow do DeGroote students survive exam season? How do they pull off strong marks while still keeping their sanity? Here are a few tips to help students get through the dreaded final exam season:

1. Organize and prioritize

Whatever you do, avoid waiting until the night before an exam to start an intense cram session. Put down that energy drink and plan ahead—the earlier you get started on something, the less stress you’ll feel. “It’s important to understand time blocking for your midterms and assignments,” says Harrison Nolan, fourth-year commerce student. He suggests creating a good outline at the beginning of the term to avoid missing deadlines. Use time management techniques to set aside study time: develop an outline, create a study schedule, write it down on a calendar, and stick to it.

2. Take advantage of your resources

There are resources available to all students and resources specific to DSB—use them all to your advantage. “Every professor has pushed us to see our TAs,” says first-year commerce student Ammar Al Nabulsi. Professors and TAs will divulge information and drop more hints than you expect. Stop by during their office hours to have a discussion, ask questions, and clarify concepts. Or test your knowledge by using online study guides or textbook reviews. For students that want to go the extra mile, take part in DSB’s mentorship program. The program aims to complement students’ academic work by providing overall personal and career guidance. “They help with anything we need, academic support or emotional support,” says Al Nabulsi. “It’s cool of the program to have.”

3. Studying in groups vs. studying alone

Do you prefer the supportive atmosphere of study groups? Or do you prefer the silence and focus of studying alone? Nolan says he sees the benefit in both, so why not mix up your study routine? Don’t skip the review session your professor is holding in class, and attend a study group with your classmates to go over concepts. Then find a quiet space (perhaps the fourth floor of Mills Library, the Commerce Student Lounge in DSB, or Innis library) to shut the world out and focus on reviewing your knowledge.

4. Unplug

Phone, TV, Netflix, and social media. If you’re having a hard time disconnecting, turn your phone off in one hour increments or, Al Nabulsi suggests, download the “SelfControl” app to block yourself from browsing social media websites.

5. Take care of your mind and body

How many coffees have you had today? Two, three, four? When was the last time you moved from that desk? It’s easy to overindulge and neglect your health when you’re running a stress induced study marathon. Al Nabulsi says he strongly believes that nothing should be prioritized over your health. “Going to The Pulse helps me relieve stress and I regain my focus on studying,” he says. Eat right, exercise, and sleep well. Oh, you’re also allowed to give yourself a break from the study marathon every now and then. Don’t forget to celebrate once it’s over—whether by meeting friends at the pub or having a Netflix marathon instead. Really, you deserve it!

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