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Frosh Survival Guide: Exam prep

By Katie IngramOpinions Columnist

Around early December, students start to fear one word: exams.
Although there tends to be a lot of exams in a two-week period, there are ways to ensure you remain relatively stress-free and successful during this trying time.
Get organized
To start, make sure you are caught up on all readings before you even think about studying. Though you have probably tried hard to keep up, you can sometime fall behind due to abundant assignments and midterms. After catching up on all your readings, organize your notes to save time while studying. Once you have everything organized, the next step is to look at marks. Calculate a rough estimate of your academic standing, and then calculate what the exam is worth. Knowing that key number, you’ll have a good idea of how well you need to do on the exam in order to achieve a good mark.
So, you’ve done your readings, you’ve organized your notes, and you have a goal.
Now the studying begins!
Make a schedule
On average, you should read through notes and other supplementary material at least once a day, but this could change depending on the nature of your exams. If you have one exam that is worth 50 per cent and one that is worth 20 per cent, you should put more time into studying for the one that’s worth more – unless you’re doing worse in the class with the 20 per cent exam.
Be mindful of the exam schedule, and order your studying accordingly. One strategy is to make a calendar of when your exams are and then a schedule of how long you’ll be studying for a subject to ensure that you devote enough time to each course instead of cramming the night before.
Study in a group
Besides pouring over books day after day, another good technique is group studying. Get together with a group of people from class at least once before the exam. This will not only allow you to discuss ideas and possible ways to answer questions, you can also talk about specific information that seems more important than others. Also, if you are in a class that allows cheat sheets, working with others will allow you to work together on the sheet incase you forget something important.
Take breaks
You should make sure you do two important things: sleep and relax. You will retain more information if you get adequate sleep. Make sure you take breaks during studying as well. Try to have at least a five to 10 minute break every two hours.
After you’ve finished an exam, take a couple hours off to relax as it will give your brain time to rest before you start studying again.

Lastly, don’t forget the details. Triple check the time and location of your exam, bring a couple pens or pencils, and give yourself plenty of time.
If after all of this, you are still worried about exams, or want some extra help, Dalhousie Student Services offer a free program called Studying for Success. This program will not only help you with exam prep problems, such as time management and how to write exam essays, but can also help you with studying issues that have recurred throughout the term.

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