The seven commandments: Preparing for Finals

Stick to what’s in front of you -idea, action, utterance.
Marcus Aurelius

With just less than a month away until the dreaded final exams, we find it timely to share some tips on how to navigate through the remaining weeks, in order to make your life a little bit easier. We present to you; Insides seven exam commandments.


Get plenty of sleep
This might sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re trying to cram as much information as you can leading up to an exam, but pulling an all-nighter should be avoided at all costs. Doing so impairs your ability to think straight and recall what you studied the night before. However, if it’s absolutely unavoidable, try your best to squeeze in a few extra hours of sleep prior to the planned all-nighter.

Studies show that a 30-minute cardio helps increase the dopamine levels in the brain which produces a sense of calmness and clarity, conducive to an effective learning environment.

If you find yourself easily drawn in by ambient noise (or whatever the case may be) instead of the task at hand, then you might want to give meditation a shot. Not only does it improve the part of the brain that regulates emotions, it can also boost your ability to focus and drown out the distractions around you. Do check out our Beginner’s Guide to Meditation for a more in-depth look at the benefits of meditation.

Avoid processed sugar
Put down that candy bar and go for a piece of fruit instead. Fruits contain natural sugars which take longer to digest, thus avoiding a sugar crash that will leave you feeling lethargic and dull.

The Pomodoro Technique
Humans now have an attention span shorter than that of a gold fish mainly due to our digital fixation. Set a fixed amount of time for work and play, say 40 minutes of uninterrupted “study time” and then reward yourself with a 10-minute break to check your phone or grab a quick bite to eat. Repeat this technique as many times as needed, and you’ll soon see an improvement in your focus span.

Study with your peers
Here’s a caveat: studying with friends could work against you (and everyone else) if there’s a lack of structure and discipline. Make sure you set a clear agenda for the day and that each person actively participates in the discussion and practice exercises.

Go over past assignments and exams
Chances are your professors are going to pull out a question or two from previous exams (with some revisions, of course). It’s a rather common practice that’s worth repeating especially to our beloved first year students. By working on past exams, you kind of get an idea of what to expect, which helps reduce anxiety.  And more importantly, the more you practice, the more concepts get reinforced.

Here’s a caveat: studying with friends could work against you (and everyone else) if there’s a lack of structure and discipline.

Pulling off all the commandments for your final exams, not only gives you a much better chance of passing, but also the confidence to not fret about whether you passed or not. Surely, no one would like that nagging feeling during what should be a pleasant and stress-free downtime.

Good luck!


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