Surviving The Exam Period

Hi everyone!

We’re gradually drawing closer to the end of the semester and finals are fast approaching so who’s excited?! No one? Yeah I thought so…

Today’s post is going to be giving you guys some insight into the common mistakes we make as students during the exam period and advice on how to survive what is usually the worst part of the semester for us.

  1. Procrastination: If I had a dollar for every time I heard a student (including myself) say ‘There are still a few weeks left to the end of the semester so I still have time’, I would own huge beach houses in Fiji and Seychelles. But the truth, which a lot of us know and choose to ignore most of the time is that time is in fact, something we do not have. The idea that we have plenty of time comes from a part of our subconscious that perceives time as a function of hours and not days or weeks. And as you can imagine, telling yourself you have 168 hours as opposed to 1 week can get you feeling like you have all the time in the world. But when you find yourself struggling through a list of 72 topics with less than a week to complete it, you realise rather late that you never really had as much time as you thought you did and studying becomes a painful experience.
  2. I will sit beside Felicia: You know that very intelligent person that everyone wants to sit beside during tests or exams? Yes this  second point is about them. Now the problem with this is that in putting your hopes in this person, you base the outcome of your own exam on someone else’s knowledge, not minding the fact that they are human and are very capable of making mistakes or even worse, failing an exam. This habit also has the tendency to reduce your self esteem because one day, when you’re sitting beside this person and their wrong answer does not correspond with your right answer, you will lose faith in your intelligence and start to write down their wrong answers because instead of sitting beside Jesus who is the giver of all knowledge, you chose to sit beside Felicia.
  3. All nighters: When people say they will pull an all nighter, I instantly imagine that they plan to get some rest or sleep during the day so that they can be active enough to study in the night. But a lot of us make the common mistake of overworking ourselves during the day and thinking coffee or red bull will do the trick. Unfortunately, studies have shown that coffee or caffeine based products generally do nothing for long term memory. So yes, it may keep you awake all through the night and even make you feel like you’re learning, but when you are faced with the actual exam, chances are, you won’t remember a lot of the things you read and you won’t be able to think clearly because your body is lacking sleep. So try as much to read ahead and get enough sleep the night before your exam.
  4. Dodging: A lot of people also think it’s wise to move all their exams to the end of the exam period. And they tell themselves it’s because this will give them enough time to study for everything and write it all at once. This is a bad idea because you will most likely procrastinate for the whole period and end up having too much material to cover in too little time, and nobody to study with because all your friends will probably be done with their exams. Watching your friends have fun and go on trips while you’re stuck hustlin’ through 15 weeks worth of material for four courses can leave you depressed and unmotivated. So to avoid this, it’s always better to spread out your exams evenly across the exam period. This gives you enough time to study for each one and helps you finish right on time.
  5. Setting lower standards: You know how we always start the semester with dreams of 5.0 GPAs, then somewhere along the line we drop to 4.0 and eventually settle for 3.5? Well that’s because we usually lose interest by the time the semester is in full swing and we forget why we wanted that flawless result sheet in the first place. I will be very honest with you. One does not achieve a GPA of 5.0 by missing classes, playing games in class or waiting for the night before exams to start studying. It’s a goal you must chase wholeheartedly throughout the semester by first making plans in the beginning and committing them to God, asking Him to strengthen you and help you realise each day that you deserve the best and therefore, you cannot settle for anything less than excellence.
  6. Leaving the exam early: Unless that exam was the easiest thing ever and you are sure you got all your answers in correctly, I strongly advice staying in the hall till the invigilator says your time is up. This will  give you time to think and go through what you have written down already so that you can remember the things you couldn’t remember before and make necessary corrections where mistakes were made.
  7. Give yourself a break: This is a very important part of surviving the entire exam process. The exam is just an application of your knowledge not a warfare. You finished one chapter? watch some funny youtube videos. You finished two chapters? even better! you can take a nap. We have to learn to appreciate our progress and reward ourselves accordingly. It is the only way we can be satisfied with studying and achieve peace of mind. There’s no need to go around looking like a zombie about to fall to pieces because you have exams. If you pray and put in enough effort, I don’t see why you shouldn’t finish strong.

I wish you guys a very productive week and a testimony worthy exam period. God bless you!

– Teema


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