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HomeEducationHow to be successful in your final exams

How to be successful in your final exams

Experts and Mohawk College students share their top five study habits when preparing for exams.

  1. Find the right environment

When choosing the best place to study, it’s important to find a place with few to no distractions. This ensures that your focus is entirely on what you’re studying. An informal Instagram poll revealed that 54 per cent of college students prefer studying in an environment with music playing in the background. Music helps with anxiety and can help relieve the stress of preparing for final exams.

On the other hand, 46 per cent of students said they complete quiet while studying. Some find that music or any background noise is distracting and causes them to procrastinate. The poll also revealed that the majority of students prefer studying in a library as opposed to a louder area, such as a café. It all comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel the most productive.

  1. Take breaks!
A desk with a laptop, pen and paper, coffee and cookies.
Students should take short breaks after studying. They should take the time to hydrate and recharge.

Mohawk’s Learning Support Centre (LSC) recommends that students take 5-10-minute breaks for every 25-30 minutes of studying. One of the most common mistakes students make when studying is trying to cram all their studying into one session. It’s important that students give themselves enough time to study a course each day so that they aren’t overwhelmed.

“The longer you study for at a time, the longer your break should be,” said study skills tutor Olivia Barontseff. “Our brains are not equipped to process hours worth of information all at once. The ‘power-through’ perspective can be counterproductive and overwhelming.”

  1. Test your knowledge

Testing your knowledge on a subject regularly can help you be successful come testing time. Barontseff suggests that students practice recalling information by self-quizzing, as opposed to re-reading notes. This helps students prepare for environments where notes aren’t available. This also ensures that the student fully understands the material that they’re studying.  Those who practice these habits will be more successful during exams.

  1. Manage your time wisely
A person using a planner to organize their day
Students shouldn’t try to cram all their studying into one day. They should make time in their schedules to study so they aren’t overwhelmed.

Time management and organizational skills are important when studying multiple subjects. Students must figure out how to balance work, school and personal life during this time.

“I recommend prioritizing appropriately,” said Barontseff. “Be honest with yourself if you’re struggling in a certain course, ensure that you spend the most time studying for that exam.”

Managing your time effectively can also benefit your mental wellness. Feeling overwhelmed can cause excessive stress that not only can inhibit your learning, but that might cause health problems.

  1. Take advantage of college resources

Students at Mohawk College have a variety of resources available to them through the Learning Support Centre (LSC) and Mohawk Student Association (MSA). These services are available to all students to help assist their studying and overall learning. Students can book time with course and study skills tutors to understand course requirements and learn effective studying habits.

The LSC also offers the Study Jam program which is a week dedicated to mini workshops and activities about study skills. On April 6, the MSA will be hosting a Zoom Study Date for students to study with the engagement crew. Students will learn tips to support their studying and mental wellness before exams.

“During stressful times like exam week, you need to remember to take care of yourself in order to be successful,” said one MSA engagement crew member. ”Self-care can have a major impact on your overall health and well-being during exams.”

Every student has their own learning strategies and no one study habit will work for everyone. However, it might be beneficial to take advantage of some of the tips listed above.


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