Category: Exam Preparation


Exam Prep: How to Stop Procrastinating


Procrastinating is something that we’ve all experienced. Some, more than others.  I tend to procrastinate when I have to do simple tasks such as call to make an appointment or go to the bank.  During my first few years in university, I procrastinated a little too much.  I would have to hurry up and complete big projects in a day or two instead of a week.  It harmed my grades. While attending my last few years of university, I vowed to stop procrastinating.  I needed to change.  Here is how I did it.  I’m not saying that I haven’t procrastinated since, but it’s rare.


Have a nice planner – I found after purchasing a more expensive and pretty planner, I’ve used it a lot.  For one, I spend the money and I don’t want to waste that.  Also, it’s super pretty.  Brownline Academic Monthly Planner. Schedule everything that you have to do, and start each project long before it’s due date.  Block off specific hours of the day to work on each activity. Stick with this schedule.


Leave your phone alone – Technology is both our best friend and our enemy.  It gives us access to so much information.  However, technology is a source of entertainment.  Perfect for distracting students.  Keep your phone in your bag or even locked in your car.  Do not touch it.  If you’re using a computer to study, do not open your social media.  If you are just typing something up, even disconnect the internet.


Take short breaks more often – When I say a short break, that means a good 10 minute break.  Go for a walk, get some water and some fresh air.  Don’t just browse the internet.  Take a nice break every 30 to 45 minutes of intense studying.  This is great because you have a time limit to study.  Perhaps, that will push you to study more intensely and without distractions.  


Study Alone –  Study in a quiet distraction free area. Do not study in loud common rooms or lounges.  Study in a place where other students are studying well.  Do not study with friends who will talk or distract you.


Set goals –  Create goals.  These goals should include a task and the time limit to complete it.  This will hopefully be motivating enough to stay on task.


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Study like a Pro: How to get a 4.0 GPA

The thing about school is, sometimes it’s not about how much you understand, but how well you can memorize.  This is very common in the sciences and in the arts.  You’re required to memorize tons of dates, definitions and equations.  Some of you, are wonderful at memorizing.  It takes some only a few revisions to memorize an entire concept.  Others, however, are strengths sadly do not include memorization.  Here I will be considering both kinds of courses. Those that require understanding of concepts and those that only require memorization.

The key to success is to determine what the professor expects of you.  Take the time to study everyday and take advantage of all resources available.  I will be going into further detail with each in this article.




Procrastination is probably the worst thing for your studies.  We all do it. Me included.  But surfing the web for 20 minutes after each 15 minutes of work really cuts into your study time.  Here are my tips to tackle procrastination.  The majority of people need to study to succeed.

Have a consistent Study Schedule

not only is this important because it keeps you organized, but it forces you to avoid procrastinating.  Since you only have so much time to do so each day.  I’ve been loving my Brownline Academic Monthly Planner.  I would highly suggest getting one. It has enough space to write out everything you need and still be pretty. (Cause that’s obviously a requirement for me….) Try to start studying a week before the test date.  I know it can be hard. But even a quick 30 minute review will be super helpful!

Turn off all distractions

Turn off your phone and computer.  I will be going over my note taking routine in another post.  With that said, I would suggest either printing out your notes or writing them by hand to avoid any distractions.  During intense study sessions I will go as far as to leave my phone in my car or at home.  The text messages can wait, and Facebook can wait.  If you absolutely need to have your phone on you.  Either because you might receive an important phone call, or you have yet to figure out how to live without your cell. Place it under your books across the table.  Out of sight, out of mind.


Be Organized

I know how hard it can be to stay organized when all of your papers are all over the place.  Use a nice binder or notebook.  Keep everything well organized.  Not only is it easier for you to study when things are in order.  Are brains seem to like organization and cleanliness.  If you like using highlighters. Don’t go crazy with it.  It’s useful to highlight the most important key points.  Not an entire page.  If you have really bad hand writing, type out your notes.


Stay Healthy

Make sure that you are eating well and getting enough sleep.  Don’t be running on caffeine.  It’s only a temporary solution.  It doesn’t help in the long run, especially if you develop a caffeine addiction.  Try to eat as properly as possible.  I know that when you’re super busy it’s much easier to order fast food.  Instead, pick up a salad at Subway. You can also go to your local groceries store for their pre-made meals. They are usually inexpensive and offer healthy options.

Get enough sleep.  I would set a curfew where I couldn’t study after that specific time.  This allowed me to relax and to get my mind off of things.  Get off of your electronics one hour before bed.  Try reading, preparing your lunch or taking a bath.  While sleeping, do not check your phone.  I now keep my phone across the room while I sleep.  If I do look at the bright screen in the middle of the night I end up being wide awake.

Study Every day

You should be continuously reviewing course work in each course throughout the semester.  Do not leave it till the last week.  It is a ton of information.  We would have five 3-hour finals at the end of the semester.  It is impossible to memorize all of the information within the last week of school.  Start super early.


Find a Favorite Study Spot

Most people find “their” spot in university.  Mine was a super quiet area with large tables.  The place was empty all throughout the year except during exam period.  All I wanted to do then was yell out “Get out of my house!”.  With that said, create a habit of going to this spot throughout the year, not just during finals.  Make sure that this place is free from distractions and quiet.



Study Groups/ Solo Work

From my experience, it’s best to work solo during the days leading up to a test.  Too many times have I gone to a group study session where most of the people are just talking.  I find that groups are only beneficial when they stay on task and everyone is quite familiar with the material.  I would schedule a group session one or two days before the test.  I would be quite ready for the exam by this point.  This study group is more of a review of the material.  If there are any concepts that I do not understand, it would be the time to ask.


Memorizing and Understanding

This really depends on the course and the professor.  I’ve been in some courses where you didn’t have to understand a thing as long as you memorized the proper answers.  While others, you can memorize all you want but you need to understand the concept to answer a question.  If you need to memorize your notes.  Work section by section.  Quiz yourself.  Have your friends quiz each other.  It’s all about repetition.  If you understand the information, of course, you will have an easier time memorizing the concept.

If you need to really understand the concepts in detail.  Draw illustrations.  Create lists of explanations.  Teach these concepts to other.  Someone should be willing to sit there and nod even if they don’t understand a thing.  (Thank you dad for sitting through so many study sessions).

Start at the end

I find it more useful to start at the newest material.  It should be quite fresh and requires less time to review.  Complete this task first to leave more time for the older material.


Use all available resources

I love khan academy.  I’ve used it so much throughout my degree.  It helped me especially in Fine Arts and Math. Make sure to use all available resources provided by your professor.  Check out the extra links and videos.  READ YOUR TEXTBOOK.  Seriously.  In most classes it is super beneficial.


I hope these tips will help you this semester! Good luck!  Do you have any tips that you swear by? Where is your secret study spot!?



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Exam Anxiety: How to Manage Test Anxiety

I struggled a lot with test anxiety.  I’ve had panic attacks during the middle of a final and had to run out.  I’ve had complete blanks of my material and failed to answer a single question.  It took me almost four years of university before I was able to control my anxiety.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have anxiety. But, it doesn’t cause me to get bad grades anymore.  I’ve been able to reduce my anxiety and control my panic attacks. This not only helped me in terms of school, but it also impacted my daily life.  I have gained the skills necessary to control my anxiety throughout the day.

If you have ever suffered from any kind of anxiety, you understand how difficult it is to manage.  You feel powerless. The intense sensation of panic and dread.  It’s hard to focus on anything.  While most people have had anxious moments where high pressured situations causes you to panic. Others, like myself, have anxious moments during normal daily activities.  For example, I would panic if my gas tank was low and I was too far from “my” gas station.  I had an intense fear of not knowing what to do at a new gas station. (Yes, I’m very aware that they are virtually all the same.) But that’s anxiety.  I have no control over it.

Why? How does anxiety work? If you’ve never felt this way. It can sound pretty strange to be terrified of going to a gas station.  Anxiety is caused by a “fight or flight” response.  Your body increases it’s heart rate, blood pressure and slows digestion. Preparing to go.  The catch is, it can happen during odd tasks.  Or, the feeling can be so overwhelming that it will cause a panic attack.  For example, during an exam.


So, here are my tips to you.  Hopefully these will help you.  Even if you do not have anxiety, these are very good tips to succeed in school.


I will be creating a post about how to prepare for an exam as a part two! Coming soon xox!



Before the Test

It’s important to have a routine before a test.  Something that you can rely on.  Personally, change can cause my anxiety to increase.  The goal here is to stay calm, and to trust yourself.

  1. Stay Hydrated : For obvious reasons
  2. Stop Studying 30 minutes before the test and go for a walk. (Clear your mind, and calm down)
  3. Ask your school for accommodations to write in a separate room
  4. Take deep breaths to calm the jitters
  5. Avoid talking to other students about the material
  6. Remind yourself about all the studying you’ve done. You can fall back on that
  7. Listen to some relaxing music to keep you from thinking too much

During the Test

  1. Prior to looking at the sheets, take a few moments to breath
  2. Answer the questions that you see that are easy, build your confidence
  3. If you don’t quite remember the answer, start working on it. You might remember it. If not, come back to it.
  4. If you get a private room, walk around.  Walking can help reduce anxiety
  5. Bring a small snack to a longer exam, you don’t want to have to worry about being hungry too
  6. Have some candy, the sugar will keep you energized during the exam.  Not really after! But that’s OK
  7. Make sure to read each question multiple times to ensure that you understand it
  8. Think positively, try not to become upset.  If you don’t know something, move on



Hopefully these tips are helpful! Do you have any habits that help you succeed during an exam?! Share them in the comments?