If you have been through high school, then you are most likely familiar with exams. College isn’t too different. Exams are a part of education, a way to test the knowledge gained through the course of a semester.

So how do you survive this potentially stressful time? Well, as a veteran of exams, I’ve learned some useful strategies. They are not just for college either; if you have some time left in high school, these tricks can benefit you too! Create good habits now and they will help you later.


I’m a person who plans, and studying is no different. However, even if you are not someone who usually plans things, I would still highly recommend trying. Having a study plan can help make you more prepared and prevent unnecessary stress.

You should be provided with some sort of exam schedule showing where and when you test. Use that to your advantage. If you know you need a week to study well for the math exam, check what day it is and start a week in advance.

You should also take study breaks. Give your mind a short time to rest and recover so you can be refreshed for the next project. Get up and go for a short walk, socialize a bit or take a minute to play your favorite mobile game. Just be mindful of how much time you spend on these things, and don’t take too long.

Do not leave anything for the last moment! I cannot stress this enough. If you plan to cram an entire semester’s worth of information into one night before the exam, you will not do as well. Give yourself time. I usually spend about two weeks preparing for exams. It gives me time to make study guides and look over topics I struggle with. This is a reasonable amount of time for me, but it is different for everyone.


When you are in the midst of exams, it is easy to lose track of yourself. I have a tendency to forget sleep and food. My advice is not to lose sight of the basics of everyday life. There are extra little things that can help you feel refreshed, like a shower or facemask, but eating and sleeping are absolutely necessary if you want to do well.

On that note, make sure you are eating enough. Get the proper amount of calories each day and make sure to get some healthy food in you as well. If your body is healthy and full, you can devote all of your attention to your studies.

You should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night on a regular basis, but around exams this is especially important. Sleep provides a time for your mind to process and store information. An hour before sleep is the best time to study, because your brain can relax at bedtime and make synapse connections stronger. Also, if you are tired, it will be more difficult to focus and learn.

Make sure you are drinking water. Coffee, pop and energy drinks can help you stay awake, but the best thing you can do for your body is to drink water. Along with staying hydrated, water helps to keep many other functions of your body working properly. It aids digestion, helps transport nutrients and waste and helps to maintain blood pressure. Water is the life of the body, and you want to feel at your best during a potentially stressful time.


Along with these essentials, I wanted to include a few extra things that I have found to work quite well.

If, like me, you need some sort of audio stimulation while you study, don’t put on your favorite pop songs. The least distracting things you can listen to are white noise and instrumental music. My favorite white noise app is Relax Melodies, which allows you to choose from a selection of sounds to create the best mood for you. For music, I usually opt for film scores from my favorite movies or ballets.

Don’t study in bed. Keep a separation between sleep and study. Studies show that the best way to recall information is to sit in the same position during studying and testing. Take advantage of the desk in your room or your local library.

On that note, consider leaving your room. Once in a while, I like to go into my residence hall lounge or a nearby coffee shop. A change of pace can be a welcome respite.