Exams are an essential part of a student's life and are held to better understand the amount of knowledge the student has accumulated over the academic year.
With exams around the corner, students tend to feel pressured to get great results and score higher than their peers.
As it is a trialling time, and to help students prepare to do their best, Connector has talked to teachers from different schools to share their top tips and tricks to make this academic exam period a great and stress-free one.
- Study With Friends: One of the best ways to keep studying interesting is to study with friends. Eric Barrett, IBDP Coordinator/English at Dunecrest American School, said that friends can help explain concepts that you did not understand and share notes for classes missed.
- Creating A Study Routine: Every student has a different way of studying that works the best for them. Some prefer studying in one stretch and then taking a break, while others prefer studying for a while and then taking a break before picking up where they left off. Melanie Holmes, Dean of Student Affairs at Dwight School said that developing a study routine is key as when done daily, it becomes habitual and students will automatically prepare in advance for exams without having to undergo a lot of stress.
- Staying Focused: Maya Tozzi, Secondary Counsellor at Swiss International Scientific School and Ciaran McBreen, Lifecoach and Wellbeing Expert at Swiss International Scientific School said that it is important to stay focused on the goals that you wish to accomplish and not get distracted and derailed from the set goals. When creating a schedule, make sure to avoid distractions and to work other commitments around your schedule.
- Staying Healthy: Eric Barrett, IBDP Coordinator/English at Dunecrest American School mentioned that the best way to combat stress is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is important to get all your nutrients by eating healthy and not skipping meals as well as getting sufficient sleep. If your mind is tired and not getting the rest it needs, preparing for exams will be extremely consuming.
- Designated Study Area: Melanie Holmes, Dean of Student Affairs at Dwight School said that creating a designated area to study, with all the learning equipment required on hand, will help in increasing focus. While studying, make sure to create a space without any distractions, be it from loud noises and if using electronics, use apps to block scrolling from social media and dedicate the time to solely focusing on studying.
- Creating an Examination Routine: While writing the exam, with the added time pressure, it can get overwhelming to manage stress. Robert Ellis, Principal at Emirates International School Jumeirah mentioned that creating an examination routine is key to staying calm during exams. Starting with the topics that you have learned will give you the confidence to finish the exam with ease rather than starting from the first question on the paper and stressing over questions that you do not know.
Additionally, some of the best learning tools for exams are:
- Managing Time: Time is precious, and as mentioned by Maya Tozzi, Secondary Counsellor at Swiss International Scientific School and Ciaran McBreen, Lifecoach and Wellbeing Expert at Swiss International Scientific School, will help you reach your main goals. When setting goals for yourself, it is key to also allot the right amount of time to hone on the skills and for exams. Prepping in advance and creating a study schedule will help in reaching the main goal of getting good grades in exams.
- Using Flashcards: Flashcards are a great tool while studying as well as for revision. Melanie Holmes, Dean of Student Affairs at Dwight School said that using flashcards helps in studying as while making the flashcards students go over the material and as they are short and concise answers, helping to retain focus and can also be used to revise daily. Additionally, by following the study for 30 minutes daily method, students will be able to retain the information learnt without the time pressure during exams.
- Organising Study Material: As over the years, studying online has become the norm. Using tools like Google Suites is a great way to organise the study material and will also provide an easier method to access the material when studying. Eric Barrett, IBDP Coordinator/English at Dunecrest American School mentioned that students could save documents via Google Docs, schedule meetings and sessions on Google Calendar, and communicate with other students and teachers with ease via Gmail and Hangouts as well as find past exams online to prep better for upcoming exams.
- Hold Mini Tests: Robert Ellis, Principal at Emirates International School Jumeirah said that holding mini-tests for themselves is a great way to learn. With the tests, students can find out how much they have learnt and can further set targets to work on the topics that need to be covered. Additionally, this helps in reducing the pressure for the exams as it is a practice for the upcoming exams.
As mentioned by Maya Tozzi, Secondary Counsellor at Swiss International Scientific School and Ciaran McBreen, Lifecoach and Wellbeing Expert at Swiss International Scientific School, stress is a normal part of life and is essential to motivate us to work toward our goals.
Managing stress to ensure it does not cause frustration and burnout are key as well as finding a healthy balance between normal life and school life is maintained.