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Julie's Top 5 Study Tips
Exam season [external link] is upon us, Warriors! Finishing up the last of final assignments and prepping for final exams can be challenging, so here are some tips and tricks.
Have a study plan
Start by mapping out when your exams are, and triple check the date and location. You’d be surprised as to how many students misread a date or confuse the time! After that, take a look at the topics that will be covered on the final exam, and do an audit of how comfortable you are with each, and which will require more attention.
Next, break down which topics you want to cover by the week and by the day. Be realistic with your planning: while you may think you can study five chapters in one day, it’s most likely not effective for retaining knowledge and not doable. Your study day can be planned out using different time-blocking tools, like the Pomodoro method [external link].
Along with having a realistic study plan, it’s also important to make use of the resources available to you in order to ensure your success, and to be realistic with yourself about how much help (or lack of!) you need for a course. If your midterm performance was lacklustre, consider going over your midterm with your course instructor or TA.
Additionally, there are many on campus resources to help you finish up assignments and get you prepared for exams. The Writing and Communication Centre [external link] assists students with writing practice, support, and research on campus, and has drop-in hours regularly. Most facilities have respective academic support programs that are both faculty-wide, and program specific. You don’t have to navigate exams alone!
… Do it with peers!
Speaking of not going about exams alone - there are great spots for individual studying like the booths at the Dana Porter Library or at home. We’ve all been guilty of turning into a hermit and avoiding human contact during exam time. However, working through problems and discussing material out loud with friends and peers is often the best way to reinforce knowledge.
Don’t be the people who are rowdy in a designated quiet area! During exam period, library monitors regularly check to see that students are respecting silent study area rules. There are great designated group spots that you can book out or drop in, like the study rooms at DP or the Davis Centre Library [external link].
Variety is the spice of life
Since you are no longer restrained to the routine of classes, discovering new and favourable study spots around campus and in the Kitchener Waterloo Region (like new cafe and workspace BRCH [external link]) can be a way to make the mundane and tiresome task of studying a little more interesting.
This can be applied to not only maintaining variety in location, but also time of day, volume level, and specific conditions. Maybe you find that the low hum of coffee shop noise keeps you focused, or that you need it to be so silent that a cough gets you displeased glances from fellow students.
Last but not least: take care of yourself
Things like course grades and test marks are quantifiable, but what’s priceless and most important is your well being. While it's tempting to binge the content of an entire course in 12 hours sitting at a desk, all nighters and overdoing it on caffeine may not only result in suboptimal studying results, but may impact your mental wellness.
Try your best to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. Take a study break and get moving, whether that's a trip to the gym or a walk around the block. UW Fitness offers free Shoe Tag classes [external link] from December 3 to 19, so you can drop in on anything from Zumba to de-stress yoga. Eating healthy meals regularly, drinking something other than coffee or Red Bull, and exercising will have you on the path to killing it on your exams.