A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Although it feels like summer break has ended yesterday, it’s been a while since we traded travel guides for Web of Science. Congrats – we are almost halfway trough semester one and this means: Exams around the corner. To make your life a bit easier, I have 7 golden tips to make the most of your preparations.
(1) PLAN AHEAD
Let’s start with an advice from a Psych student: Break up your goal into a more achievable step-by-step plan. In other words, transform “I want to pass the exam.” into “On Monday, I will study Chapters 3 and 4, on Thursday, I will do the mock exam.”. This will not only help you estimate the time needed and track your progress, but also allows for motivational reward along the way.
Are you master of chaos or is chaos master of you? Whatever your answer to the question is, an organised study desk and notes do save you a lot of time and energy searching for things. Personally, I try to get rid of distractions such as Social Media during exam time by for instance deleting the Instagram and Facebook apps from my phone.
Flashcards, mind maps and co. can not only help you structure your knowledge and deepen your understanding of concepts. Visualising also creates an additional cue in your brain which helps us remember and recognise facts more easily.
(4) TEAM UP
We’re in this together! Studying with friends has many perks: It helps clear questions, motivates, offers comfort and last but not least makes it more fun. I actually enjoy exam periods just for the fact of seeing my uni friends more than usual. In addition, there is a golden rule: You have only truly understood something, if you can explain it to others.
Continuously stressing about exams will not only decrease your mood but also use up a lot of your energy for studying. That’s easy to say – but how to prevent it? Go to bed before midnight, aim for eight hours of sleep and take regular breaks. It is not about being the first one to enter and the last one to leave the library – go for a walk or hit the gym in between. Ever considered Mindfulness or Yoga exercises?
(6) FEED YOUR BRAIN AND STAY HYDRATED
Especially during intensive study periods, a regular and balanced diet and drinking enough are important. Planning meals can prevent eating too little or indulging in unhealthy snacks. Find out more about how to boost your brain power with food here.
(7) BELIEF IN YOURSELF
It is the key to success! So, don’t forget: You have worked hard and well during the past weeks – you deserve a good grade. And, even if, it does not turn out as well, there are always second chances.