Preparing for exams is never a pleasant experience because that GPA is all important and exams carry heavy weight in most of your classes. Whether you are in undergrad classes or online graduate degree programs, your Grade Point Average not only impacts future financial aid but also your placement within your class. Just think of graduating with high honors or highest honors and being able to put that on your resume! Then consider how much stress you are under when trying to get those grades in a course like health informatics where you actually need to keep two complete subjects (combined into one of course!) in mind as you study for your mid-terms or finals. Here are a few tips to help you keep a positive mindset when preparing for and during exams.
Before going any further, the one bit of advice that always pays off is to remember from that very first day you start a new class that somewhere in the middle and at the end of term you will be taking an exam. Preparation for that exam should begin on that very first day of class, be it online or on campus. If you prepare as you go, you can walk into an exam almost perfectly at ease knowing that you’ve done all you can do and that you have learned each lesson and have conquered each theory. Sometimes it is fear that hinders us the most – in fact most of the time it is fear of the exam – that keeps you from scoring as highly as you should.
This is one of the most cliché of phrases but a very powerful lesson to learn when getting ready for exams. Taken from the inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, this oft used expression has gotten millions of people through more trying times than a final exam. Soldiers on the battlefield have repeated this as a mantra as have the victims of abuse. By learning to conquer your fear you can have a positive mindset when taking that exam and whether you are studying molecular biology or healthcare informatics, you can understand that it is your fear of not doing well that will be your biggest enemy.
Another thing that is a factual statement is that cramming the night before does more harm than good. Everyone does better after a good night’s sleep and there are connections in the brain that aren’t made if you are overtired. In fact, the harder you cram, the harder it is to remember even the slightest facts that you know like the back of your hand. Even common words look like nonsense when you are overtired so if you want to walk into that final exam with a positive mindset, don’t cram – get at least 6 hours REM sleep.
If you have paid attention throughout the semester and have kept up with everything going on in your classes, whether they are online or on campus, you can have a positive mindset when you take your exams. Remember one thing, your professor writes those exams so if you’ve listened carefully to lectures, or read your online instructions well, you will get clues as to how much weight certain topics will carry. Get a good night’s rest, eat a high protein breakfast and put a smile on your face. That smile will chase away all doubts and you’ll face the unknown with a positive mindset. Sometimes that’s all it takes.