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Tips to survive exam season 

Here’s the funny thing about me writing an article about how to prep for exams: I’ve haven’t got a clue.  

Knowing this about myself, I’ve consulted many experts on the topic in preparation for round one with university exams, and I’d like to share some of the advice I received with you guys.  

Location, location, location 

The key to picking your perfect study spot is considering where not to study. Ellen Scott, a third-year art history major at the University of Guelph, warned me against studying in bed or somewhere overly comfortable.  

“You will wind up just taking a nap,” she said. 

A stitch in time  

Instead of staying up late, go to bed on time and wake up early – your brain will be “more retentive,” Scott said.  

“As long as you know the content to begin with, getting sleep is more important than studying,” said Sofia Melendez, a third-year psychology student at Queens University. 

She added that keeping a constant routine is essential – it’s not easy to wake up early if you aren’t naturally an early bird. Melendez encouraged me to get my body used to waking up early to study to prep for an impending exam. 

The right technique 

“Study actively, not passively,” says Melendez. Check in with yourself constantly while studying – ask yourself to summarize key points in one sentence so you know you’re really understanding what you’re studying, not just re-reading. 

Melendez’s other pro tip? Get rid of social media.  

It’s really only a distraction from looking at your notes. Delete those pesky procrastination apps when you really need to get to work. Apps such as SelfControl, Freedom, and Anti-Social can block your social media for you – if the will power is lacking 

Scott recommended listening to instrumental music to prevent distractions, and chowing down on crunchy snacks to keep yourself going.  

If you have extra time on your hands, try to keep some life-related things in check as well.  

“Make to-do lists outside of studying – do your laundry, go to the bank – it’ll relieve the stress of exams to get other things done in your life,” Scott said.  

James Cooper, a third-year arts and science major at the University of Guelph recommended a Pomodoro Timer, which you can get as an app or through an extension on your browser.  

The Pomodoro Timer helps you manage your time so that you can study effectively. For instance, it gives you a five minute break every 25 minutes.  

“It’s also super helpful to meal prep,” said Megan Gramigna, a third-year biology and psychology major at Laurentian University. If you aren’t relying on a meal plan, making big batch meals ahead of time can save you the nutrient void of microwaved Mr. Noodles.  

Cooper said to prep overnight oats at night so you have motivation to get up for those early morning study sessions.  

“Throw some oats, nuts, sugar and dried fruit in a mason jar and cover with whatever type of milk you so desire the night before. BAM. A delicious – and most importantly, filling – breakfast-to-go on those busy study days.” 

In between study sessions 

Don’t lose your cool about an exam that’s only worth five percent.  

“Focus on what’s worth 45 per cent,” said Melendez. Prioritizing your time while studying is key to having time for other essential life things – like sleep.  

 Hopefully these tips from my trusty sources will give you the pick-me-up of knowledge that you need to tackle this soul-sucking exam season.  

You got this.  


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