Hello! If you are reading this you are probably hoping to find some miracle formula to help ace your exams. I am sorry to disappoint, but hopefully the following are some tips that you may find useful for your exam journey. It is not exhaustive, and most of which your mother has been telling you countless of times, but here we go anyway 🙂
- Have a schedule
Having a schedule of what you want to study is important to ensure you do not get lost in your mountain of work. Your schedule does not have to be very complicated, nor rigid. It just helps you get your priorities right. If you are really good you may want to spend about 10 minutes on a Sunday to come up with a schedule on Sunday to plan for the week’s work. Do allow time for homework and other random events that you may need to attend for the week. If not, you may choose to come up with your study plan daily (like me). For example, today I want to study a chapter of history and a chapter of biology (on top of whatever other homework you have).
- Do your homework
Try your best to be meticulous in your work, which includes handing up your homework on time. Last minute work never helps, especially when you are copying your friend’s work on the day of submission. The process of doing homework is also the time for you to revise whatever you have learnt, so next time your teacher assigns you work (probably very soon), treat it seriously.
- Make notes
This point varies from individual to individual, but from personal experience, this helps a lot. Though it may seem like a waste of times, making notes allows you to gauge what is important and what is not, ensuring you have a smaller stack of things to go through instead of your thick textbooks when the exams are near. Moreover, making notes enables you to internalise the content to ensure you know what you are reading, which is another form of revision.
- Take regular breaks
Despite whatever stress you face, remember to take breaks! You are going to school for an education, not to become a closet mugger. The process is as important as the final result, so enjoy the process. Set small goals for yourself and reward yourself after that. You may choose to eat some ice cream after a mathematical assignment, or play a game of soccer after reading a few chapters of chemistry. The bottom line is to ensure you keep yourself motivate throughout your learning journey to prevent a burn-out before the exams,
- Exercise and sleep
Well, in the heat of the exams, many of us neglect our health. Exercise will help reduce the stress by keeping our minds away from work. A swim or jog will do the trick. Also, regular sleep cycles play an important role in you revision process. What is the point of staying up another hour or two to attempt to finish that last chapter or assignment? You will just feel more tired the next day, and the vicious cycle continues, causing you to have sleep debt. I myself have been guilty of this and the feeling is one I can do without. The “8 hours of sleep” mantra is the ideal situation, but knowing ACSians, that will remain the ideal situation. Perhaps a more realistic target of 6 hours? This really depends on the individual. Another suggestion could be sleeping early and waking up early in the morning to do your work, if that is what you prefer.
- Keep the phone away
In the age of technology, our rather distracting phones are just inches away. The urge to use our phones every other minute is quite strong (I know, I am sometimes guilty of this too). Putting your phone in another rooms or somewhere less accessible will aid in your concentration. Check your messages every hour rather than minute will improve your productivity by leaps and bounds.
- Family and Friends
This is probably the most important point. Never neglect those who are closest to you! They are your pillar of strength in your tough times. Try your best to pull some time out your busy schedule to show your gratitude, and I am sure everyone will feel much happier.
Ng Chee Meng is from the graduating batch of 2016.