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First Aid for Studying: 10 tips for surviving the exam period

  1. It all starts with a good study plan. Make sure your notes are ‘crammable’ before the start of the cramming period so you can focus all your attention on memorising the material. Make a realistic plan for the exam period itself, too. Count back from each exam and make a note of how many days you need to revise and memorise each subject. You could also note down how many pages you plan to revise each day. Keep any commitments in mind when you do this: it’ll be easier to fit in a football match or First Communion celebration if you plan these in advance.

     
  2. Warn others. Keep the people around you informed of your plans. Tell others when your exams are and what the preparation will be like, so they can keep it in mind. Your friends shouldn’t drop in the night before an exam and your family shouldn’t be bothering you with chores at the crucial moment. And don’t be afraid to say no to tempting but unplanned trips or events.

     
  3. Try to find a healthy rhythm. Some people study better in the morning or during the day, while others prefer the evening. Find out what works best for you. Either way, get plenty of sleep and make some time to relax regularly. Try to do something nice each evening before you go to bed, too. Then you’ll have something to look forward to during the day.

     
  4. Find out what relaxes you. Don’t overdose on www, especially on your smartphone. You brain is already working hard enough without having to answer messages or Facebook posts all day. Research has also shown that smartphones are a concentration killer. Instead, go for a walk, cook dinner with your housemates or do some sport. One golden rule: ‘Disconnect to reflect’!

     
  5. Think about where you are most comfortable studying. It’s best to study in a quiet environment with no distractions, where you won’t be disturbed. The library works for some people, but not for everyone. Others like to revise with their classmates.

     
  6. If you notice that you get distracted by something easily, see if you can shut it out until you have a break. That way you can save just that one episode of Mad Men or that half an hour on Facebook and Twitter for when you’re done with the day’s revision.

     
  7. Repeat what you’ve just memorised the next day or a few days later. Short repetition exercises will give your memory a real boost!

     
  8. Eat a healthy and varied diet. Try to avoid very heavy meals and fast food, and stay off the energy drinks as much as possible. They’ll give you energy in the short term, but you’ll probably feel the repercussions in the days that follow.

     
  9. Be on time on the day of your exam, but don’t hang around for hours beforehand. Stressed out classmates are best avoided. And it’s not a good idea to compare answers with your classmates after the exam: chances are that you’ll go home feeling unnecessarily worried.

     
  10. Get some support from friends and family if it’s not going so well. It might not be possible to meet up in person, but a telephone call can do wonders. If you’d like to talk to someone else about your worries, you can always pass by the Study Advice and Student Counselling Service. Make an appointment with a student counsellor through STIP.

Contact

STudentInformationPoint (STIP) Stadscampus - Building E (Agora), 1st floor
Grote Kauwenberg 2
2000 Antwerp
Tel. +32 3 265 48 72
stip@uantwerp.be