As exam time approaches for our UK and Ireland students, here are a few simple tips for acing those finals and continuing to make the most of your time abroad:
- Make (and stick to) a schedule. Between travelling, enjoying your last few weeks in
your host city and prepping your summer plans, keeping track of exam dates and paper deadlines can get lost in the mix. Have a calendar with all important due dates for papers, projects and exams to save yourself from missing any deadlines. Prioritize and don’t procrastinate! Do not study or work on a project for more than two hours at a time. Study with friends. Take breaks if you get anxious or frustrated.
- There’s no magic pill. Misusing prescription drugs is not an effective or safe strategy to get through finals. Research shows that students who take un-prescribed stimulants to study or stay awake do worse academically than those who don’t.
- Catch some Z’s to get those A’s. Cramming and stressing out will severely inhibit your ability to think when faced with a challenging, open-ended question on that final. Seven to nine hours of sleep helps memory, processing information, and increases alertness.
- Take advantage of your host institution and study center resources. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help with your work when you need it.
- Stay active. Whether it’s walking, running, yoga, a dance class or a new sport you have taken up during your time abroad, moving your body will help to give you energy and relieve some tension during exam time!
- Relax and slow down. Deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal.
- Fuel your body and brain. Your body and brain need sustenance to focus and retain information. Make sure to eat balanced meals and stay hydrated.
- There’s good stress and bad stress. If you are feeling so overwhelmed or anxious that it’s difficult to concentrate, sleep, eat or participate in your usual activities, please talk to a counselor or the study center staff for referrals.
- Do your best. It may not be possible to ace every test, and that is OK. Try your hardest and be proud that you did. Pursue realistic goals that are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share.
Finally, if you feel that you are not coping well with exam stress, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your UCEAP Study Centre and/or host institution.
Good luck on exams!