HOW TO: Survive Your Exam (without Losing Your Mind)

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With AP exam season fast approaching, you may be searching for ways to milk your year of hard work for every possible ounce of benefit. Here are seven last-minute tips that can help you finish your prep strong and perform at your peak:. This piece of advice is listed first because it is one of the most important and most frequently overlooked AP strategies. Our brains are at their best when they are rested. If you sit for an AP exam while exhausted, you will have a much harder time recalling the information you need to earn a high score. AP tests are designed to assess knowledge and skills that you accumulate over months of study, so frantically reviewing your notes the week before the exam will not help you.

You can study an hour or so a day to keep yourself focused and on-topic, but avoid working late into the evening. AP tests are not yet computer-delivered, and this means that you will be doing quite a bit of writing by hand.

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It may seem strange to think about, but tired hands are one factor that can affect your performance. However, there are ways to minimize the likelihood of aching fingers. On the day of your exam, bring a stress ball or other stress relief toy that will help your hands relax from their pencil-clutch posture. You can even bring a small tube of moisturizer or Tiger Balm to rub into your fingers.

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Note that these items may only be used during breaks between tests — not in the exam room. Part of entering AP exam week rested and relaxed is feeling mentally refreshed. If this is not the case at your school, ensure you create a work schedule well in advance of your AP exams, and aim to finish any other academic tasks before your first test. This can minimize possible stress and distraction.

How to deal with exam stress | Times Higher Education (THE)

Make time, too, for an activity that is fun and relaxing. Go for a walk, play a favorite video game, or invite your friends over. The specifics of what you do matter less than ensuring that you do not spend the week before your exams tense and anxious. As mentioned above, avoid entirely abandoning your test prep. Today, the best kinds of aromatherapy are considered a luxurious indulgence that only a handful of people have access to.

The good news is, there are many cost-effective ways to actually enjoy the calming effects of essential oils. Apart from its medicinal purposes, one of its many wonders is its effects on focus and concentration. A little of it goes a long way.

Refocus Your Energy

Diffusing a few drops of peppermint oil will transform your entire room into a calm and soothing place for hours of arduous studying. It is an inexpensive and minty way to improve memory, focus, and your mood. It will help you stay focused, alert and awake. A relaxing environment increases brain retention rates, so you are sure to remember your note for that big test. Rosemary and sage also get the job done.

Aside from making keeping the air smelling fresh, these herbs also improve concentration. Forget about burning sage to depict witchcraft movies; it is a life hack fit for graduate students like you! It is a proven way to perform well on your test. Sacrificing sleep is bad for your brain. It may allow you to finish the remaining few hundred pages of reading assignments, but it will affect your memory and lead to poor performance.


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A study has shown that the more time we spend awake, the weaker our memory becomes. This leads to a decrease in memory retention and causes the brain to go into overdrive. Sleeping before your big test allows the neurons in your brain to regenerate and form new connections.

Aside from a renewed sense of motivation and energy, sleep improves brain function. And when do you need your brain to work at its best? During an exam day, of course!

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The competitive education system leads students to perceive recreational activities as a waste of time. With a societal expectation to do well, students are pressured to excel. This leaves them with no outlet to de-stress and socialize. Stress is an inevitable effect of this overachieving and isolationist lifestyle of students, especially in graduate school.

Yes, stress may undermine success, but taking control of the situation can be life-changing. We all know that stress is deeply ingrained in our psyche. No one is exempt from feeling it. Transform that feeling of anxiety into motivation to perform better! Resilience is key in this process. It is easier said than done but it starts with continuously thinking and speaking positive thoughts.

Making personalized notes is probably the most effective way to study.

7 Last-Minute Exam Tips for Students

Your precious notes may save you from failing your exam! It is important that you devote some time writing down ideas that easily slip your mind. Note taking is a skill you are bound to master as you go on with your academic endeavor. Note taking keeps key ideas and concepts organized and easily accessible when you prepare for your major examination. Skim through your notes before the exam.

Also, make sure to review past exams if any from the same professor. This will allow you to familiarize the type of test that you are about to take, which is just as important as knowing exactly what to study. Skimming through your notes is like performing a memory exercise of sorts. Did you know that three deep breaths go a long way?

After spending long days studying and many sleepless nights of constantly battling with academic-related stress, just breathe. When you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, breathing exercises can help decrease your stress level.


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  7. The trick is to make a conscious effort to breathe slowly. Sighing is also actually a great reflex and breathing technique that counts as an effective lung exercise. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and breathe out with a big sigh. You can repeat this method for as many times as you need. Breathing properly is the fastest way to calm your nerves, relax your body, put your mind at ease, and take control of your emotions—just the four things you need right before an exam! Luckily, we can do as much deep breathing as we need to relieve stress!

    The inevitable has come.

    How to survive law school without losing your mind: Grit & Resilience

    Today is your exam day. Be mindful of your environment but stay completely focused on your exam. Breathe easy and calmly recall everything you studied. You are ready for success! Your grade will not define your full capacity as a student. Pass or fail, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving the day—and for doing everything you possibly could to prepare for it. Acknowledge and accept that feeling while doing what you must to make it through.

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