Test-taking: a few helpful tips

I’ve noticed over my three years here that there are a few types of test takers: the one who didn’t study and doesn’t really care, the ones who crammed the couple nights before the exam and are now a nervous wreck, and the ones who prepared well and show up to the exam with nothing more than a writing utensil. If you want to be part of the last group, here are a few helpful tips:

1) Study early. My favorite time to study for a test is the Saturday before the exam. You relax Friday night and hang out with your friends, sleep in til 10 or 11, and wake up feeling like a million bucks. You make a quick pit stop at the nearest source of coffee and head to the library with some friends for a Saturday afternoon study session. You (hopefully) don’t have much other schoolwork to worry about, and you can devote a solid 5 or 6 hours to that exam alone. It makes the nightly studying the few days before the test much less stressful.

2) It’s only an exam. Sure, it may be important to get a good grade on it, but if you prepared well enough, you can have the confidence to go in with a clear head and not be in the “nervous wreck” category.

3) Sleep the night before! I can’t figure out why students pull all-nighters right before the test and don’t catch any Z’s. Research has proven that when you sleep, your brain filters out all the nonsense you stored in your short term memory that day, and commits the important stuff (a.k.a. the stuff you studied) to long term memory, making recalling the information on the test that much easier. I’ve actually heard of people falling asleep during the test, and waking up right before the end with nothing written down. Even a couple hours will work wonders.

4) Don’t eat a huge meal right before the test. Once you fill your belly up with food, your body AND mind gets sluggish. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase your appetite, so combining this with an all-nighter would be a double whammy of bad luck for doing well on the test.

— Patrick Davis, Junior, Movement & Sport Sciences

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