A question that probably lingers in the mind of every student is “How do I perfect my exam preparation?” There is no definite answer to this question because every individual learns differently at a varying pace. However, some practices are absolutely beneficial to all and these are the ones every student gearing up for exams must follow.

Treat your studies like a 9-5 job

Treat studying like a 9-5 job, so when you unwind in the evening you won’t feel guilty. Also by implementing a routine, you will teach yourself that during these hours you must be doing things relevant to your studies like revising for an exam, doing required reading or working on assignments/projects. Give yourself an hour’s lunch break like at a work day and then at 5pm you can wrap up. This can also help reinforce a healthy sleeping pattern which will improve your memory.

Understand versus memorize

When you truly understand a concept, memorisation naturally follows. Try to understand the core of what you’re learning and build upon that, versus memorising for each test and forgetting afterwards. This will also help you master your final exams!

Listen to recordings

For those moments when you can’t conceivably have your nose stuck in a book — while you’re walking, driving, exercising, folding laundry— considering listening to a recording that complements your studying. Whether you have recordings of your professor’s lectures, found a podcast on the topic, or taped yourself reading over your notes, plug in your ear buds and listen up. This is especially helpful for auditory learners who do best when they hear (and not read!) information.

Quiz night with course mates

Now this tip might only work for particular courses as not every subject or degree has pragmatic answers in exams and coursework. However, for instances where you and your course mates have all had to read or memorise information for an exam – get together and have a quiz night. Create a set of relevant questions and answers, get into teams and quiz each other. Hopefully the competitive streak will help you remember information and also have fun.

Pamper yourself to remain motivated

It could be chocolate, 10 minutes of social media or television or maybe a nap, the choice is yours. When you have something to look forward to, you’ll tend to be more dedicated to finishing that task. No cheating though.

Know when to stop studying

Within 12 to 24 hours of the test, it’s time to stop studying. You’re not going to learn a lot of new content. The likelihood is much higher that you’re going to stress yourself out and confuse yourself. For the last-minute learner, flashcards can be a good resource. They can earn you a few more points on test day, and it’s a much healthier thing to do than starting on page one of the textbook.

Fuel your brain with healthy snacks

It cannot be stressed enough how important this factor is. If you eat heavy, unhealthy foods late at night, your brain isn’t going to be in prime form. As such, it’s especially important to factor food into your study routine! Fruits and nuts are particularly good choices during munch time. And fuel goes beyond what you’re putting in your mouth: Getting enough quality sleep and taking some time to recharge is also super important. After all, what’s good for the body is good for the mind.

In conclusion, one simple fact that students tend to forget is that relaxation is not a luxury. It is a necessity, especially while preparing for examinations or your brain will be in a daze. Studying can be mentally exhausting and if you don’t give your brain some rest, it will burn out. But relaxation should not become procrastination. Ensure that relax enough to re-energise your brain.

About the author

Karishmma V Mangal 
Director and Trustee Thakur
International School Cambridge