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5 Tips To Prepare For Exams

5 Tips To Prepare For Exams

The end of spring and the beginning of summer is where the nightmare begins for most students. Burning the midnight oil, as they say, as we sit and cram a whole semester’s worth of topics into 2 days. Tensions run high as we sit in groups in the library trying to catch up with everyone else. As we lean upon one another to help and grow together, the cooperation that was absent throughout the semester happens overnight. This is the time where everyone becomes allies; this is the time of final exams.

However, during this time is when many fail to realize that being calm and collective is the key to concentration and successfully getting through finals. Here are a few pointers that might help you get through your finals and move on to an amazing summer.

1. Choose An Appropriate Study Time.

Our bodies are unique. Therefore, our biological clocks are programmed differently too. That means that adapting your routine to everyone else’s can bring you more harm than good. As your body suffers from trying to force itself to absorb all the information, you’ll eventually tire yourself out and the whole session won’t be as productive.

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Alternatively, it would be best if you create your own study time. Observe yourself at the times you’re highly productive and align your study periods then. This will increase your efficiency and you’ll be able to carry on the same energy flow for a longer period. This methodology also increases your ability to concentrate, hence you needn’t worry about forgetting what you’ve learned.

2. Keep Sweets Of Different Colors And Flavors With You.

Sweets are one of the world’s great gifts. As the delicious, sugary goodness oozes down your throat, you realize what a good day feels likes. Also, you may not have known that munching on sweets while studying allows you to increase your attention span. This gives you the ammunition to concentrate longer and remember better.

There’s also something called “association memory,” where your memory associates what you taste, smell, or feel with a particular memory. Keeping this in mind, munching on something sweet with either varied colors or tastes will allow you to associate that particular subject with the sweet. Then, during the exams, your subconscious memory will trigger the knowledge needed for you to ace that paper — just don’t forget to take the sweets with you to your exam!

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3. Prioritize Leisure Breaks While Studying.

After being trapped in a study room for days, a breath of fresh air can be bliss to the soul. Picture studying as keeping our mind in a library with constructed concrete information where creativity is on hold. Our mind keeps running on the treadmill of information and it eventually tires itself. This is exactly when you start losing your concentration and focus on whatever it is that you’re doing.

Huge companies such as Google have created various spaces for activities that allow your mind to breathe again, as a way of inducing a more efficient workforce. Why don’t you create your own time for leisure too? It could be binge reading your favorite novels, catching up on your favourite series, or making a good meal to treat yourself — just do something to get your mind off studying for a short period of time.

4. Have A Hot Flask Next To You.

Have you noticed that in most Hollywood movies, you find a group of students sitting in a corner studying while sipping on a mug of coffee or a huge pot of tea? There’s an interesting reason for this. Studies have shown that taking the time to slow down while studying allows your brain to digest information better compared to the normal robotic munching of information.

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Keep a hot flask with you and take a sip of your favorite beverage while studying. Even though you’re down to the wire, rushing the process doesn’t quite help — even if you’ve completed all the chapters. Instead, enjoy your beverage while going through the process of learning — what could be better than making learning a fun and relaxing activity?

5. Have A Great Playlist.

They say always save the best for last, and the one recommendation which every student knows is to have a great playlist of songs which tender the mood. Music is related to associated memory and it can also calm your now-speeding mind. This gives you the centered emotion you need to overcome each chapter of your studies.

Have a playlist of calm studying music — there are many on YouTube and Spotify — and listen to it while you’re studying. It can help you lose track of time and forget just how long you’ve been hitting the books. In other words, music helps in tricking your mind to work more.

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If you have a great playlist set before flipping through your books, studying will seem a lot less like work.

Even though finals is a time when as students we feel suffocated, using various adapting mechanisms can make this period a breeze. After all, this process is part of enjoying life as a student and the evolution of you as a person. As they say, first come finals, then comes summer.

Featured photo credit: Students Studying via az616578.vo.msecnd.net

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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