Whether you are about to take final exams, midterms, the SAT or ACT, knowing those tests are looming in the future can be pretty stressful. Don’t let the stress get to you. Here are nine surefire ways to make sure you are ready physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually to take those exams.
Before any study session spend a few moments praying. Sometimes teens think that God is only in the most spiritual parts of their lives, but God is in every aspect of your life. He wants you to succeed. Praying can bring you closer to God and make you feel a little stronger and relaxed going into test time.
2. Lose the Excuses
It can be easy to put off studying until the last minute. The things going on around you can be tempting ways to procrastinate. Some teens also find excuses to fail, because they just give up learning. Exams are overwhelming. They do test your limits, but you can learn. You need to keep your pace reasonable and learn what you can. If you feel truly overwhelmed, discuss it with your teachers, parents, friends, or leaders. Sometimes they can help.
3. Plan Ahead
You know that certain tests are coming up, so plan your study time wisely. At final exam time you will have a lot of tests within the span of a week, so you should have a plan of attack. Which areas will need more of your time? Which test comes first? Second? Which subjects need review? Your teachers should be giving you some guidance as to what will be on the exam, but you can also use your notes to guide you. Try and write down a study schedule so you know what you need to study and when you need to study it.
4. Find a Study Group
Whether you study with people in your church youth group or people at school, having a study group can be very supportive and helpful. Your study group can take turns quizzing each other. You can provide insight into certain topics for one another. Sometimes you can just laugh and pray together to blow off some steam when the pressure gets to be too much. Just be sure your study group is actually focused on studying.
5. Eat Well
Teens are known for eating badly. They are drawn to junk foods like chips and cookies. However, you may find that those foods are not very helpful to your study habits. High sugar foods may give you energy at first, but then it plummets pretty quickly. Try to eat healthy “brain foods” high in protein like nuts, fruit, and fish. If you really need a boost of energy, try a diet soda or sugar free energy drinks.
6. Get Your Rest
Sleep is one of the most important tools you have in studying for exams. You may feel stressed and like you don’t know everything you need to know, but a good night sleep can help relieve that stress. A lack of sleep can end up clouding your judgement or increase your number of mistakes. Get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, including the night before your exam.
7. Practice For Your Exam
How do you practice? Write your own exam. As you are studying, take some note cards and write down questions that you think may make it on the exam. Then compile your note cards and begin answering your questions. If you get stuck, just look up the answer. By taking the “practice test” you will be much more prepared for the real thing.
8. Take a Breather
Breaks are a good thing. Even the test preparers of major tests like the ACT and SAT know the importance of taking a breather, as they schedule them into the test time. Studying can take its toll on you, and after a while the words and information can just seem like a jumbled mess. Step away from what you are studying and just clear your head with something different. It will help make you fresh to continue.
9. Have Some Fun
Yes, exam time is stressful, and you may feel like you have to devote all your time to studying. However, if you develop a good plan you should have some time to spend with friends and family. Make some time to do some things with your youth group that week to just blow off steam. Taking an hour or two to get away from the stress is a good thing. It will make your head a bit clearer when you back to studying and you will feel re-energized.