I’m sure by now you’re all settling into the new semester trying to find your bearings and what not. Some of us may have already taken our first quiz or exam. I’m currently studying to take my Phlebotomy Certification exam which is 8 days away. In an effort to share more of my journey to getting this nursing degree I thought I’d share how I prepare for an exam with you guys who are already in nursing school and for those who are considering going to nursing school. Here goes…
You’re probably thinking what’s my reason for saying this but let’s be real, how many of you have picked up your phone to scroll on social media while studying and call it a “study break” (raises hand). I’m so guilty of this. We’ve become so attached to our phones that putting it down for a few hours a day seems so like an unattainable task, so I know this will be the hardest challenge but it’s worth it. Think about it this way, when you take an impromptu study break to check twitter or Snapchat; by the time you’re done scrolling you would’ve forgotten the material you were just studying and would then have to start over from scratch and relearn what you just studied. I downloaded this app called Pomodoro Timer Life, this apps helps with increasing your productivity and I can testify that it works. The app basically lets you select what task you need to accomplish, and you get to set a timer for about 25 minutes where you’d start studying and then you get at least 3 to 5 minutes of break in between. I love this app, if this isn’t enough for you then I suggest turning your phone completely off and get in the zone.
Review Material after class
Try to carve out at least 30 mins after your class or at the end of your day to review the material from the class earlier that day. That way as it gets closer to the exam you would’ve been preparing all along and can go real hard in the paint at least 3 days before the exam. By then you would’ve had all the information drilled into your head and will be well on your way to doing well on your exam. Think about how well you can do on your exam if you were to review after every class. Now I’m not saying to study around the clock cause that’s just impossible, but this will help you to maximize your time as you won’t be left with having to use up all your free time studying ( I mean who wants to spend all their free time with their nose in a book?). I’ll let you in on a little secret; whenever I would review, I tend to recite the information over and over when I’m taking a shower, cooking and right before bed ( I have a 95% chance of retaining the information when I do this).
Sit at desk
Yes, I said to sit at a desk or find somewhere that you know won’t be of a distraction to you. DO NOT STUDY IN YOUR BED. Your bed was made for sleeping, most times we associate our bed with sleeping and definitely not studying, so studying in your bed is a disaster waiting to happen. I had a professor who told me that sitting at a desk helps us to have the correct posture and that in itself will send a signal to our brain that we’re suppose to be studying.
Take a break
It’s good to have an incentive when studying. During this break I would snack on brain food. Many of us as students tend to forget that eating is vital for our brain. It’s important to keep your brain and body well fueled with nutritious foods that have been proven to aid in concentration and memory. Remember to also keep yourself hydrated. By now you guys know I’m a TV fanatic, so this is where I take the time to watch an episode of one of my favorite shows. And YES this is where you can the time to check your social media cause I know it’s been hard not being able to check your phone as often lol.
Explain the information to others
Talking aloud as well as explaining a topic to another person can help to reinforce it in your brain and provide clarity as well as draw attention to your weak areas. To those who may still be living at home with parents and siblings, use your family to your advantage to assist in your studies by explaining to them the information that you are trying to retain.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE
Procrastination is definitely not your friend, in fact it is an academic killer. As guilty as I am, waiting last-minute is not good for your mental health, it puts tremendous stress and strain on your brain and even on your body. It is never good when your brain goes into panic mode, so it is important that you give yourself enough time to study. One thing you could do to better manage your study time is to set a study timetable, write down the exams you have and the days when you have them, then allocate your time accordingly.
What are some of the things you do to prepare yourself for an exam? Drop a comment below and share some of your tips with me.