No matter how good you are at a subject, the test is likely to stress you out to some extent. Even if you sat through all the lectures and submitted all assignments during the term, there’s always a stress factor. Yet, there is a way to minimize the stress: plan your preparation for the upcoming test or exam. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Focus and Be Realistic
Due to globalization, technologies and information overflow, the world became topsy-turvy. Besides, the pandemic changed the way we used to think and the way educational institutions used to organize the learning process. So, all this mess may be extremely confusing.
The thing is, the educational programs are not fully adapted yet to work properly in 2021. And let’s face the fact that many of them were far from perfect even before the pandemic. So, you may get caught into an avalanche of information and assignments that are impossible to digest and complete.
You can order essay online or ask for help with other written tasks. Set your SMART goals for a fine preparation. Some teachers may give inadequate volumes of information you won’t process before the exam. So, evaluate what you can learn within the time you have.
Of course, you can’t excel in 20 quite broad topics in less than a week. But you definitely need to know what to say on each of them in at least 5-10 complete sentences. Start with that. Set a goal to write short answers on each topic and spend a certain amount of time on it. Revise the material the next day and start expanding on each topic bit by bit. You got the gist.
Separate the Real Value From the Self-Esteem Issues
Clear your head from delusive assertions. Remember that the goal of preparation is to get a good mark, not see how fast you can cram. With such an approach, you may think you know everything because you read the notes and books quite fast. But that’s a trap.
These days, people can be into competitiveness so much that they forget what they are really trying to achieve. Preparing for an exam is not a race. Your ultimate goal is to get a grade that won’t hurt your rating and the benefits you get from being a student.
No exam establishes:
- your cognitive abilities;
- whether you are smarter than your classmates;
- whether you are able to learn at all (every living human is).
Objectively, your results on exam can show:
- how well you understood material;
- how much time you spent learning;
- whether the techniques you chose for preparation were effective;
- whether you can proceed with your degree and/or receive a scholarship.
That’s it. If you look closer, you can see that there is nothing connected to the comparison between other students and you.
Every individual has different needs and chores to attend to, so, the speed of preparation or grasping material is not key. Focus on the quality of learning and how it will influence your future. Will it matter in a few years that your classmates prepared for the exam only in a few days?
Get Yourself a Planner
A paper one will do better, but it’s up to you anyway. What is good about planners is that they contain checklists and sections that allow for smart planning, not just writing down the number of tasks you should complete sometime.
Just don’t get too distracted with odd stuff like the color you’d prefer or whether there are enough blank pages for you to doodle. It’s nice to see cool pictures and beautiful layouts on each page, but pay attention to the functionality first:
- Is there space to include an hour plan?
- Does the planner include checklists to track the progress?
- Are there some blank spaces to add extra information?
- Does the layout look logical and suitable to you?
Schedule As Early As Possible
As soon as you know the dates and questions for the exam, compile the questions in one list. Break them down into the chunks you can manage within 2 hours maximum. If you can’t recollect anything on some topics, it’s better to put them on the schedule first.
If you don’t have a list of specific questions yet but already know when the exam will be, write down the general topics of the course. At least you will know how many blocks you should go through and can start revising some material without wasting time.
Evaluate the volumes and suggest when you need to start learning/revising the material if you spend 2 hours on it every day. The limit of 2 hours can be changed depending on how good you know the subject at all. Yet, don’t map out each second of your day.
There will always be unpredictable things to get in the way. So, if you try to control each minute you have, it will only add more stress, while the purpose of planning is the opposite.
Scheduling is about smart and effective planning to avoid spending extra efforts. You may tell yourself ‘I won’t forget to revise it every day’ and shoot yourself in the foot. Or, you can set a notification in your calendar saying that every day, at the same time, you spend about 30 minutes revising what you learned the day before.
Without revision, you may forget 80% of what you have learned by the end of the week. With a long revision session, you may just get bored or feel extremely tired.
At night, our brain arranges everything we learned during the day and helps to digest information. However, if you wait for too long, there will be nothing to recollect, the brain will just get rid of that material. So, it’s better if you try to remember it right after you wake up.
As you can see, there are many practical things you can do to make an effective plan for the preparation and minimize the stress. Just set your realistics goals, write down an adequate plan and revise regularly what you already learned. And don’t forget to schedule a day to have some rest before the exam!