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Exam Tips

Words and graphics by Caitlin Chuah

Exams, the most dreaded event of all students around the world. I used to get so nervous before my exams that I would physically fall sick! However, if you prepare well, there is absolutely no reason to stress about them. I can tell you this from experience. Read on to learn some of the best exam tips for a smooth-sailing, stress-free student life.

1. Start revision early

The most dreaded event for all students around the world, including me, is last-minute cramming. Picking up your notes and blowing the dust of them one night before your exam WILL lead to post-exam tears. Why put yourself through that much stress and agony? One tip is to take notes during class, then later in the day, go through the notes you have taken. It will only take 10 minutes to do. By revising your notes every day, it keeps the knowledge fresh in your head, allowing you to retain it easier. Plus, if you do this, you won’t even need to specifically set time aside for exam revisions, because you are already revising as you learn every day.

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2. Make a plan/timetable

Time management is KEY when it comes to preparing for exams. Mindlessly scrolling through Tiktok or Instagram is the biggest criminal that steals students’ time. However, if you create a daily schedule, setting aside time for studies, as well as scheduling time for recreation, you will achieve a beautiful balance, acing your exams while having enough time to take care of your mental health and enjoy life as a young adult. (Where my party people at?)

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3. Take short breaks between study sessions

We all have those moments where we are reading something, but the words and information are just not registering in our heads. So, we end up reading the same page over and over and over and over and over and over…

When this happens, it usually means it is time for, you guessed it, a break! Our brains need rest, thus, when we plan long study sessions, we need to ensure that we also plan short breaks in between. Trust me, a 4-hour study session with breaks is more efficient than a 6-hour study session with no breaks.

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4. Rest well & sleep well

Throw a stone into a crowd of Gen-Z’s and you will most likely hit someone who has a terrible sleeping schedule. Too many teenagers and young adults believe they do not need 8 hours of sleep. Trust me, I am one to know, having lived on 5 hours of sleep a night for 2 years. We may not realize it, but the more this goes on, the more our brains and bodies deteriorate. Eventually, our memory, thinking skills, physical health and mental health will decline, causing us to lose focus and our grades to drop. Getting enough sleep will enable us to perform at our maximum potential, allowing us to achieve those A’s a lot easier.

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5. Break down information to small points

When you have 8 chapters with 10 subtopics each to study, you’re most probably going to feel a bit overwhelmed. However, by breaking the information down into smaller points, your brain will be able to comprehend the knowledge better, allowing you to retain it easier. One good way to do this is by creating mind-maps for each chapter or topic. Begin by listing down the main chapter, then draw branches and bubbles leading to the subtopics and so on. Keep adding branches and bubbles until you have covered everything in the chapter.

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6. Seek help from lecturers/peers for things you are still unsure about

Lastly, we can’t do everything on our own. Getting good grades is sometimes a team effort with your teachers. Reach out to your teachers if there are topics you are unsure about, or certain chapters which you missed class on. Additionally, having discussions with your peers is an excellent way to have an interactive study session that will make you put your thinking cap on.

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