Sunday, May 4, 2014

How to get through exam week!

This week, as probably some of you know, is the first week of IB exams. I'm not a full IB student but I am taking four out of six exams (Economics HL, Psychology HL, Biology SL and Math Studies). Why I'm taking SL exams, I don't know since they don't benefit me any way towards college credit, I just really enjoyed biology and math these past two years.. As exams get closer and closer I begin regretting taking any exams at all, but oh well it's too late to back out now so I have to suck it up and work through this week. Studying two years worth of a syllabus can seem extremely overwhelming and I'm not going to lie, it is, but I've accumulated a few tips for studying and staying sane during exam week.

Studying tips:
My schools gave us two weeks off before exams to study on our own with the option to seek help from teachers if we needed. I'm not going to lie, I didn't really use these two weeks to its full potential and I'm really regretting that today (sunday before my Econ exam). So I guess my first tip would be

  1. Use your time wisely. Don't think that you can use the week, or even weekend, before the exam to begin studying. You actually probably could study then but not nearly close to the depth of knowledge you need to know for these exams. I started doing a little studying two weeks before but I really suggest starting weeks, maybe even a few months before exams, that way you can spend this time reviewing, not learning, your material. 
  2. Go over old tests and exams. Re-do tests or quizzes your teacher gave you throughout the two years. My teachers give tests based on old IB questions, so I found this the most helpful. 
  3. Go through the syllabus and highlight/mark sections that you really need help with the most and start your studying here. For econ, there's no point in going over determinants of supply and demand when you really don't know how balance of payments works. 
  4. Look for reoccurring questions from old IB exams. They are all available online so really use this. In IB Biology they always seem to ask a question about surface area to volume ratio, so I made sure that I have that concept down.  
  5. Make study guides based off your notes with little hints and tips for how to remember things. This is my favorite thing to do. Not only am I refreshing my memory by reading my notes, I'm also getting a better understanding when I rewrite my notes. The night before an exam I like to reread these study guides as a quick way to refresh.  
  6. This is the most important tip. Don't over study yourself. Breaks are needed and little time periods of studying are more useful then long periods where your brain is dead. You will hit a point where your brain just feels fried. TAKE A BREAK. You aren't studying any better if you continue than if you were to take a break.
A few tips for exam week:
  1. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Go to sleep at a decent hour.
  2. Eat healthy, just for this week please. High calorie and fried foods do nothing but slow you down. 
  3. Drink lots of water. You will be surprised what a difference this makes. 

I hope these tips help some of you. If you are also an IB student, let me know in the comments!

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