Are You Ready for Exams? Exam time is here… and you are in one of two positions: You’ve worked fairly hard all term, but now have three exams in five days. This gives you only a few evenings to review already-learned material.* Exam anxiety at this level can take the form of nervous anticipation or even fear. You may think that you're not prepared enough, but feel fairly confident that you'll do okay.^ You’ve slacked off and are now in PANIC mode.* Panic is the final stage of anxiety and can lead to breakdown in thought processes. You feel disorganized and out of control, which results in loss of memory.^ No matter where you're at, you need to dedicate the next few days and evenings to get through the material. The following strategies will assist you to be as prepared as possible, given the last-minute nature of your studying. Last Minute Tip 1: Find Out Exactly What is Going to be on the Exam A good class syllabus will identify that for you – check it out and note the readings that go along with the exam topics. Some professors will provide a list of lectures and chapters that will be covered. Gather all pertinent information and materials. Last Minute Tip 2: Identify the Main Themes and Prioritize the Material Look at the topics or themes you have identified and list them. Identify the sub-themes of each theme and list them. List the important details you need to know about each sub-theme for the exam. Use your notes and the textbook or readings as resources for identifying important information such as ideas, definitions and processes. For many students, it is useful to develop a visual map of the material for the exam as part of a study guide. This involves placing the themes into an upside-down “tree” diagram, and adding important information from there. Last Minute Tip 3: Identify the Important Concepts for Each Theme At this point, you have to be selective about what you concentrate on. Resist putting isolated bits of information that look important into your study notes. Concentrate on facts that flow from the themes and sub-themes. Last Minute Tip 4: Now Concentrate on the Material You may feel like you need to continue searching for information you may have missed, but at this point, you have to admit that it is too late to try to learn everything. Your goal now is to try to master the information you have*: Read each piece of information and develop a question for it.* Write down the questions and use them to test yourself. Look at examples from your lecture notes or textbook and identify the concepts that they relate to and why. Don’t spend time memorizing the examples. Develop your own examples and rationale for each concept. Summarize the key concepts in your own words and map out the related principles and ideas. Last Minute Tip 5: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Now all that’s left to do is to memorize the study material you have developed. Use every memory trick that you know – word association (mnemonics), rhymes, sentences from acronyms, etc. Last Minute Tip 6: Take Care of Yourself Make sure you take care of yourself physically and mentally during this time. Take frequent short breaks and go easy on the caffeine and sugar. Don’t stay up all night to study. Regular sleep is one of the best ways to control stress. Aim to do your very best because that’s all you can do now. Last Minute Tip 7: Plan to Never Short-change Yourself Again Avoid these stressful study marathons by making sure you review daily and start your studying early. Contact our office for help in setting up regular and exam study schedules.