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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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