Exam Week Organization
Notice how I waited until after my first round of midterms was over to write this post? Whenever I have exams, which is pretty much every three to four weeks in the semester, I just want to put the world on hold. But, with my research project, full load of 18 credit hours, volunteering work, RSO participation, blogging, and on-campus job, trying to put the world on hold isn’t exactly a reality. Hence, I turn to scheduling and organization to help me plan out my studying and assignments to try to calm me down in times of stress. Read on for three of my essential exam week organization tips.
1. If you fail to plan…– YOU PLAN TO FAIL! This is my absolute favorite tip for success, not just in academics, but in all aspects of my life. I love my calendar systems (whiteboard calendar in study room, Google calendar for easy access online and on my iPhone, and day planner as an assignment notebook). However, when it comes times to exams, I like to print out an individual calendar to schedule what days I plan on completing assignments.
This is the study planner I used for my first round of midterms. I had two back-to-back exams (Organic Chem II and Medical Ethics), but also a Social Psychology Quiz on the morning of my Orgo II exam. YIKES. So I printed off a calendar from Google and cropped it to see only the two week period my exams were being held in. I use this calendar to write out a list of what I should be doing each day to stay on track in my work and not have to face late nights and all-nighters (FYI – I hate all-nighters and have never pulled one in college!)
2. Making a List and Checking it Twice – As you could probably tell by now, I LOVE LISTS. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment you get from crossing items off of a to-do list. I make to-do lists regularly for my nightly homework assignments and work (my day designer planner shown below has a column for a to-do list on each page with built-in boxes for checking off!). However, when it comes to exam weeks, I break out the SUPER to-do lists. In the first picture posted, you can see that I have taped a piece of paper to my laptop screen. Even though I do all I can to prevent being stressed, it manages to creep up on me the day or two before the exam. So, I end up consolidating my to-do lists into one sheet of paper for the upcoming two days, and carry it around with me everywhere! Look, I taped it into my planner!
3. Study Guides! – Organic Chemistry II has A LOT of slides (pretty much all lecture courses will come with PowerPoint slides). This year, I tried something new by binding all of the lecture notes, quizzes, supplemental worksheets, and practice exams into one giant Exam 1 packet. The final in this course is cumulative and I wanted to save all of my Exam 1 material so I could study for the final in December. I visited FedEx-Kinkos and got the packet bound so I could have all of my notes together without damage. This method has been great and I can conveniently transport the notes everywhere without them getting wrinkled or lost.
Yup…that’s one thick notes packet!
Although exam weeks can be stressful, with the proper organization and planning, you can lower your anxiety levels and boost your performance by getting and staying organized. It’s only for a couple of days, so work hard and reap the benefits afterwards!
Plus, sometimes good things happen (because of the sheer number of caffeinated drinks you’ve bought!)