How to Not Cram the Night Before: Samantha’s Approach to Midterms

Time and time again I’ll be reading some poor student’s blog or twitter feed and what I see is basically this: “OMG my exam is tomorrow gotta study all night omg omg I’m so freaked out my brain is exploding!”

More or less, anyway.

Now, I am not a crammer.  I’ve never done it, and I very nearly always walk into my exams feeling confident and relatively anxiety-free, at least when I compare myself to those around me.  And, most importantly, my marks turn out just like I want to, as evidenced by the scholarships UBC keeps offering me.

What’s my secret? Easy: start studying a week before your test. (At least.)  That’s really all there is to it, besides figuring out how you study best.  What I do is do about an hour or so of reading for about three days starting a week before the test, so the material is all fresh in my mind. You can’t start memorizing if you can’t even remember what you’ve covered in the last month.  After those three days, you do some hard core studying in the next three days (preferably on a weekend). Condensing your notes, guessing and practicing answering questions you think will be on the test, testing yourself.  Then, the night before, you get to breathe. Relax. Read over the study notes you made, test yourself a little bit more. What you should find is that as you read over those notes, your brain goes, yes yes, I know this stuff already. And you know why? Digesting information over a longer period of time is going to make it stick way better than if you stuff it all in your head the night before when you’re all stressed out.  And, you’ve accomplished what the course is actually about: learning, as opposed to memorizing for one test and then promptly forgetting everything after it’s over.

If you have several midterms a week, it can be easy to focus on one subject and forget about the other tests, and just study for each test as they come. But, if you do an hour or half an hour of studying each day for each subject a week before the exam, you’ll know your stuff better, and have less work overall the night before each test.

A bonus for using this method: now you have great study notes for when finals come around! Not to mention, you’ll remember more of the material from your midterm when it comes time to write that final exam.

I hope this helps you through your time of midterms!

Music is so…amaz…actually no it comes and goes

Ever hear a song that makes you want to get up and dance? or seems to just portray your current mood so well? It’s a wonderful feeling, but how about when you want to skip pretty much all the songs being played? When you’re at that point, music kind of sucks. Cleaning out that music list seems like a good idea, but then that’s a bit of work so you can’t really be bothered to. Plus, maybe you’ll grow nostalgic towards an old song when you hear it again a few weeks down the road! So we tell ourselves anyway. The best thing is probably to clear out the songs one at a time. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing fairly recently when I have my songs on shuffle on iTunes. Each time I hear a song I don’t quite like anymore, the delete option is not too far off.

It’s hard to work in a subject where you lack interest. That’s how it is for most people and a lot of people (not all) are still able to work pretty hard in subjects that aren’t interesting anyway. This year I can’t seem to do that. I find it increasingly difficult to pay attention in class and work hard. It’s strange, my first and second years were probably much more busy and chaotic than my third year is now. I dropped many things to concentrate on school and I ended up doing much worse than when I had absolutely no time to study. I have more time to study now and yet…studying is the hardest action to do. I find a very limited number of things that are mentally stimulating. My camera has seen little use these days, blogging is infrequent (if not nonexistent), questioning of myself is frequent, slight aversions towards the internet are abound, and the turning to books (not school related of course) as a source of comfort. Maybe I’ll try and do some book reviews in the future…

As for the music, I’m probably just gravitating towards a different style. What it is I don’t know just yet. Keeping posts short and simple for now.

Here’s a pigeon.