How To Prepare Yourself For Exams It is quite normal for anyone to feel a bit pressured while taking an exam. However, some students get so nervous during exams, that they often have a hard time focusing and recalling all the things they have studied. The result: they get failing marks. There are many factors which contribute to this nervousness, and one of them is inadequate preparation for the exam. To prevent this from happening, a student must have effective methods in preparing for exams. Such methods will give you confidence that you have covered quite well all that you need to study, thus giving you a positive attitude when it comes to taking care of exams. Continue reading to learn a few helpful tips in preparing yourself for exams: Tip #1: Preparing ahead of time Usually, longer and more difficult exams are announced very early on. There is a reason for this: for the students to have sufficient time preparing for them. Never wait till the very day before the exam for you to review, for cramming never yields positive results. When you start reviewing your lessons as soon as the exams are announced, you’ll be able to cover more, giving you more self-assurance you’ll pass with flying colours. Tip #2: Joining a study group The good thing about a study group is that the workload may be divided into the members, and each one can share what the lesson is all about. This way, time and energy is saved, enabling you to cover a lot of things without spending too much time on each one of them. However, you must be wary of the study group you are joining. Make sure that each member is serious about preparing for the exams, and not just there to have fun or take it as an opportunity to have a bonding with friends. Tip #3: Eating well and taking breaks Proper nourishment will help make the brain more receptive, making your exam preparation more effective. That is why, throughout your reviewing, you should eat a well- balanced diet. Stay away from coffee and other beverages with caffeine in them if you want to get energized. While it is true they will give you a sudden burst of attentiveness, it doesn’t last long and may just make you have a hard time focusing all the more. Instead, drink plenty of water or fruit juice and take a short break, by either doing some walking or stretching exercises. Tip #4: Minding how you memorize There are several techniques students like yourself swear by in memorization easier for them. Never underestimate the power of taking down notes, especially keywords. Say into your own words sentences and paragraphs to make sure you have fully understood what they are trying to say. Recall what you have studied every now and then to ensure everything is retained in your memory. Have a good night’s sleep on the night before the exam. Wake up early the next day, have a shower, light breakfast and prepare everything you need to bring to school for the exam. With adequate preparation, you will not find it hard getting high scores. Common Studying Pitfalls Have you had a study time at home before and ended up either sleeping or doing something else, that you went to class the next day unprepared for the exam or recitation? It could be anything – maybe you received a phone call, fell asleep or ended up playing a game on the internet. Take a look at the following list of some common studying pitfalls. Once you become familiar with them, you will know how to deal with them properly in order to have a fruitful study time at home. Access to the Outside World The minute you open your textbook to study, your mom comes knocking at the door telling you someone’s on the phone waiting for you. A few minutes after that, your younger sister screams that dinner is ready while banging at your door. The solution for this is fairly easy: before you enter your room to study, tell everyone in the house you are not allowed to be distracted as you have an exam to prepare for the next day. While you’re at it, place the “don’t disturb” sign on your doorknob. Having a Full Stomach Try this: go to the dining table, eat a heavy meal, then go to your study table and try to do your reviewing. The moment you grab on to a textbook, you will feel sleepy, especially if you have had starchy or sugary foods. Both are a form of carbohydrates, and too much carbs in your system will definitely make you feel very sleepy, so you will find it hard to concentrate. If you feel hungry before studying, then go grab some chow. But remember to eat lightly – limit starchy or sugary foods; focus more on having protein from various meat and dairy sources. Studying in Bed Okay, so you just had a light meal as previously advised. You went to your room to begin studying but woke up some hours after, surprised that you instead had fallen asleep. While you may have had a light meal alright, you must have studied stretched out on your bed. Studying in bed is a no-no, since at any instant at all you could get forty winks even without meaning to. It’s best to do your studying seated on a comfy chair, matched with a spacious study table where all your needs are to be placed – textbooks, pens, notepads, highlighters and others. Internet Hookup On Having an internet can both be a boon or bane. Of course the internet provides a resource of additional information which could supplement your studying. But at the same time it could also tempt you to just chat, visit forums, drop by your social networking site, or even just play online games – instead of focusing on your lessons. For some students, it may require lots of self-control to focus on their studying and not be tempted to do other things with the presence of an internet hookup. If you think your textbook, dictionary and notes would be able to give you all the info you need, better switch off the computer, to avoid temptation. Chatty Study Partner It’s good to have a study partner because you can divide the workload and share information with one another. It makes studying easier and it saves time. However, not all study partners will be of help, especially if they’re not that serious with studying or getting high grades. If you think you can benefit from having a study partner, pick well someone who is as earnest as you to having an effective study time. But if there’s no one else to pick aside from someone who is not as serious as you are about getting high grades, better study alone. Simple Exercises to Enhance Brain Power You need to increase your brain power to ensure that you retain most, if not all, of everything you study. But did you know that to increase your brain power, you need to use and challenge it on a regular basis? You might think that making your brain work a lot may diminish its thinking capacity but, based on researches, it does the opposite. It makes sense: just as giving your body a work out to maintain strength, endurance and health, exercising your brain also yields benefits to it. So to keep your brain power in top shape, you might want to give it some power-boosting workout regularly. Read on to learn some simple exercises for your brain. Do math exercises. If you’re stuck in traffic, add up the numerals you see on car license plates. Or if you have a book in hand, open it randomly, look at the page numbers and add them up. You may also subtract, multiply and divide them. Memorize phone numbers. Take your celphone and randomly pick a contact. Memorize his or her number, then recall after an hour or so. Try memorizing one person’s contact number per day. If it’s too easy for you, why not memorize 2-5 numbers a day? Test your taste buds. When eating out or enjoying your mom’s cooking, try to figure out all the different tastes and ingredients present. Concentrate even on the subtle flavorings you can detect. For verification, ask the waiter or your mom if you figured out everything correctly. Switch hands. For some daily tasks, try using your non-dominant hand to challenge your brain. For instance, instead of using your right hand, use your left hand for combing your hair, brushing your teeth, sweeping the floor or using the remote control. Try if you can learn to write legibly with your other hand. Play but don’t replay. During your free time, play card or board games, or learn a new one. But try not to play with the same thing each time. So if you’re playing solitaire today, play chess tomorrow, then another game on the following day. A word a day. Look around you and look for new words, then look up their meanings in the dictionary. Try to learn one new word a day. Imagine how extensive your vocabulary would be after a month of doing it daily. Just make sure you got a pocket dictionary handy all the time. Learn by heart. Pick a long speech or just randomly select a page from your favorite paperback novel. Try to memorize one sentence daily. Now on the following day, memorize the next sentence, then add it up to the one you memorized previously. Let this go on for days until you can recite it in its entirety. Use your hand. Close your eyes and try to identify objects with just your hands. Take note of various shapes, sizes and texture. You may also try to learn how to read Braille. Try out something new. Learning something new is a great way to challenge your brain. If you like arts, you may learn how to do cross-stitching, quilting or painting. You may also try to learn how to play a musical instrument, a sport or any other hobby you think you’d be interested in. Combine different suggested brain exercises above on a regular basis, and always remember to add challenge each time by increasing the words you memorize, the numbers you compute, or the new things you try to learn. It also helps to keep track of your progress by recording your activities in a small notebook, to check out how much your brain power have come a long way. Foods That Help Improve Memory Eating a well-balanced meal is the key to making sure that the brain gets enough of all the nutrients it needs for improved functioning. However, studies have shown that there are certain foods that are great in helping improve the memory. As a student, you know very well how having good memory contribute to getting high grades during exams and recitations. The following are some foods that can help improve your memory, making your studying more fruitful: Apples – Apples have this particular antioxidant called querceti, which is revealed by certain studies to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. More so, it is also found out to help boost your memory. While this antioxidant is also found in the flesh of the apple, it is more concentrated on the skin. So skip peeling your apple the next time you’re planning on munching on it. Spinach – Spinach most probably not only made Popeye very strong, but also must have augmented his brain functioning. A study found out that laboratory rats regularly fed with spinach prevented and even reversed memory loss, thus they were able to score top at the maze and other tests. A cup of cooked spinach will yield just about the right amount of your daily folic acid need, a nutrient believed to prevent age-related memory loss. Chocolate – Chocolate not only makes people feel like they’re in love because of a serotonin boost, but it also makes them remember things much better. This is because chocolate contains epicatechin, which is found out to help improve blood flow to the brain, thus improving memory function. Aside from that, most chocolate contain caffeine, which makes you alert, making you study more effectively and retain as much information as you can. However, don’t eat too much of chocolates as they contains lots of sugar and may make you fat. Soy Milk – Soy milk is rich in choline, lecithin and isoflavones – potent natural antioxidants that are good for fighting off cancers and improving brain functioning. While other milk sources may give you all the vitamins and minerals you need, soy milk will give you all the isoflavones you need to boost your memory. Other soy foods like tofu and bean curd also work as great as soy milk. Legumes – Kidney beans, chick peas, lentils and other legumes are rich in folic acid, which is a very essential nutrient especially among growing fetuses and infants for proper brain development. For you, as a student, folic acid will give you brain power so that you can ace your exams more easily. Legumes, by the way, are also a great source of protein, which contributes to the smooth and normal functioning of the brain. Nuts – While studying, munching on cashews, peanuts, walnuts or pecans will help you retain much of what you are reading. This is because nuts are a good source of omega fatty acids, which is the primary component of a normally functioning brain. Also, they are rich in iron, which helps in carrying oxygen in the blood. With sufficient oxygen in the blood, fresh oxygen is supplied to the brain, so you stay alert and your memory is enhanced. Onions – In India, onions are a popular folk medicine to help in boosting memory for many years now. Not only will onions give your favorite dishes some zest, but will also give you the edge you need when studying. This is because onions, especially the red variant, contain anthocyanin and quercetin, which is good from preventing Alzheimer’s disease and improve one’s memory.