By: Julia Manning
Finals week can be a stressful time for students. Typically, the last exam of the semester could determine a loss or gain of a letter grade, or even failure in the course. But don’t fret! Taking quite a number of final exams myself, I know a few tricks and strategies to becoming a better test taker.
The first and most important (but obvious) strategy is to study. However, the studying must start at least a week prior to the exam. Cramming before an exam is inefficient and will most likely lead to stress and sleep loss. There are numerous ways to study for an exam. My favorite is to create flashcards! Reports have shown that writing down or reading a phrase three times will result in memorization. Studying a week before the exam will not only strengthen your knowledge over the subject, but will create confidence. The more familiar a test taker is with the subjects or concepts in the exam, the more self-assurance they will feel.
A trick I’ve learned to feel more confident and motivated while taking my exams is to wake up early and eat a good breakfast. Overall, it’s good to wake up and leave earlier for an exam to ensure you’ll arrive on time. But, it’s also important to collect your thoughts for the day, take your time getting ready, and have a quick few minutes to review your notes. Whenever I wake up late for my classes, I feel stressed and rushed. I don’t feel confident or motivated for the exam, but I feel sluggish and groggy throughout the day. Eating breakfast in the early mornings can help a test taker feel full and energized for their exam. I know I need a cup of coffee to start my day off right. Taking the time to make coffee plus eating healthy and energizing foods, such as eggs or apples, can shake away the morning grogginess for anyone.
We’re all guilty of binge watching Netflix late at night and not falling asleep until way past midnight. However, staying up too late, especially the night before an exam, is devastating to becoming a better test taker. Scholars have found that the average person needs at least eight hours of sleep per night. It’s a fact that sleep helps your memory. So, you better rethink watching “just one more episode” of Gilmore Girls. From my personal experience, getting a good night’s sleep before the big exam makes me feel well-rested and focused.
Planned studying, waking up early to eat breakfast, and getting a good night’s sleep are all important tips and strategies to becoming a better test taker. From my own personal experience, these steps are great advice and will aid in your performance when taking the exam.