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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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