The “happy New Year” isn’t always so happy for high school students. For the average high school student, the new year means it’s time to start prepping for the dreaded midyear exams, which can be one of the most stressful weeks of the year. Here are a few ways to make certain that you are both physically and mentally prepared for these daunting tests.
1. “What we hear around us in our school environment can cause the most stress ultimately” (Shivani Ekkanath)
Possibly most important in preparing for exams is personalizing study habits to fit your own needs. Before studying, lightly skim the material and make a list of what you know strongly, what you maybe need to refresh, and what you should heavily review regarding each subject. This way you will waste no time reviewing what you already know and you will be able to spend more time studying what confuses you more. In addition, stick to this study plan and don’t let others tell you to study more or especially less for any certain subject; the only person who knows what you need to study is you. Remember that midterms are a personal learning assessment testing only what you know; therefore, you will not be studying in the same way as classmates or friends but studying to fit your own academic needs.
2. “Your teachers should [be] your very first stop when getting ready for midterms” (Princeton Review)
One helpful way to prepare for a test is asking the testmaker him or herself exactly what you will be assessed on. After lightly reviewing study material and making a study plan, as noted before, make a list of insightful questions to inquire when given the chance in class. Make sure your questions address aspects of the subject which you are confused on or that will be effective in your studying. No one wants to waste time studying what they may not even be tested on, so make sure to ask exactly what will be on the exam as well. Most importantly in this step, do not be afraid or ashamed to ask questions or ask for help from a teacher; confidently do what will help you best prepare. And remember, if you are confused with a certain aspect of a course, you are most likely not the only one, and classmates will appreciate questions that help them prepare for the exam as well.
3. “Start a healthy sleep routine in the weeks leading up to your exam, so you can reap the benefits of a fresh mind on test day” (Princeton Review)
Many people think that cramming information into an all-nighter right before the test will help you better memorize for the exam. However, you retain more information by spreading studying out over a few days or, better yet, weeks and by making sure to give your brain some rest to compensate for tough work during the day. Health Finder states that teenagers need about eight to ten hours of sleep every night, so be sure to rest up fully about a week or so before an exam to ensure that your brain is best prepared for a few long hours of hard work.
4. “It’s crunch time now, but the end is in sight!” (Princeton Review)
Try not to be nervous or stressed. With a strong and healthy study plan, you are already halfway to success. If you are one who stresses often, plan ahead. Know yourself and prepare well, and when it comes time for the exam tell yourself repeatedly that you have studied hard and are prepared in order to limit stress. Also, if it helps devise a phrase or similar to distract yourself from feeling nervous before the test. It can be something as simple as singing the alphabet, concentrating on every letter, or counting as high as you can inside your head.
5. “Make a special effort to cook yourself a decent meal… It’ll make you feel happy and give you a boost ready for the next day” (Bright Network)
Don’t go overboard, but treat yourself the night before an exam with a hearty, healthy meal, something that makes you happy. Give yourself a break from studying, which can sometimes go on for weeks at a time. It will distract you from some stress and even dread for an exam and also can boost your mood, giving you some positive energy which can help before a big test. Then after your meal take a deep breath and remember: you got this.