How to keep your sanity during exams?

9 Jan. 2019

Regardless of which program of study you are enrolled in at EHL, exam time is invariably the most stressful time of the semester and can be overwhelming.

But we know for certain is that it is possible to survive them with your sanity intact. Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success:

Plan A Study Schedule

In studying for exams, you will have a lot of information to review for every course. Creating a study schedule helps you to set aside time for each subject. Additionally, it can give you a realistic overview of how much information you have to cover. Studying a little at a time is a far more effective learning strategy than last minute cramming. And it is far less stressful.   

Use Social Media Judiciously

Some study guides advise you to stay off social media entirely during the lead up to exams. Others encourage you to use social media to seek support throughout this highly taxing time. There are merits to both approaches, but which is the most helpful depends on the individual. Social media is a tool. When it comes to exams, social media can be a distraction and an excuse for procrastination or it can be a way to connect with your peers and support network when you need them most.

If you know that you are likely to lose large amounts of time while aimlessly scrolling through Facebook updates, you should probably consider a social media moratorium until you've completed your last exam. On the other hand, if you are feeling isolated and alone as you prepare for exams, use social media to reach out. Your support network cannot support you if you don't let them. 

Be honest with yourself about how you use social media and either use it for support or abandon it entirely until after exams are over.  

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Eat Right

Feed your brain. Avoid foods that are heavy in fats and sugars, as they can make you feel sluggish. Seek out for foods that can help you achieve peak performance during exams. Do your best to avoid overdoing it with caffeine. Drinking coffee to get over an afternoon slump may end up preventing you from getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. Instead, reach for an orange as the bright flavors and scents of citrus fruits can increase alertness.

Take Time for Yourself

With exams in all subjects and looming deadlines, the idea of taking time for yourself may seem like a joke. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation to focus and calm the mind are a great way to unwind at the end of the night or prepare for the day. According to a recent study, meditating even for just a few minutes can improve both your ability to focus and your executive memory functions. Aerobic exercise is another great way to take care of yourself during exams. Aerobic exercise produces endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Even just 5-10 minutes of aerobic exercise can help alleviate anxiety

Get Some Sleep 

The all-night cram session before exams is a common cliche. But the truth is that in order to perform at the best of your abilities, you need to get adequate sleep. We do realize, however, that most students will try to get by with less sleep than they need during exams. If this applies to you, take a short nap. Believe it or not, exam time is the perfect time to start taking naps. A short nap can help you recharge and rejuvenate in less time than you think. Just be sure to set an alarm unless you want to risk napping for longer than you anticipated. 

As exams approach, take a deep breath, create a plan, seek support from your cohort and friends, and don't forget to take care of yourself. 

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