Column: Unsure of how to navigate final exams? Here are a few tips.

Exam season can be difficult for everyone. A pandemic only add more weight to that.  Following these tips can make things easier.

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Exam season can be difficult for everyone. A pandemic only add more weight to that. Following these tips can make things easier.

by Flower Smith, Staff Writer

Every student’s favorite time of the year is here: Final examinations. As the end of the semester is approaching, it may be challenging to find the motivation to continue and finish the semester with a strong ending. 

As it is known, online school and virtual learning have been beyond a struggle amongst most students. With the added stress of this past year, there are layers of concern revolving around staying focused and dedicated to academics. 

Frequently, students feel stressed, yet it is challenging to find encouragement in the times we need it the most in academic life. 

Nonetheless, here are a few tips that can help prepare for online exams to ensure your success. 

Tip 1: Know the day and time of your exam 

Checking your syllabus is a great source to determine the specific details about what day and time the exam will be proctored. 

Once that is addressed, this is the perfect opportunity to write down the testing date, either in a planner, on a Google Calendar or even a reminder on your phone. This can ensure that you will not forget a big day in academia. 

Tip 2: Establishing a study space

Creating an environment and designating a study space can make it easier to focus. 

An obvious rule is to avoid your bed because the chances of being productive while lying in bed are slim to none. So it is best to sit at a desk or even the kitchen table to provide stability in your studying. 

Graphic design sophomore Rachel Jacobs shared where she likes to prepare for her online exams. 

“I like the kitchen table because a lot of light comes in,” Jacobs said. 

It is important to note that your study space should also be a place that motivates you. Feeling comfortable in the workspace will reflect your productivity. 

Lighting can be one of the biggest influences when creating a space to study. If your area is not adequately lit, you may feel more tired and can cause harm to your eyes. 

This also applies to your device’s screen. Making sure that the screen contrast is comfortable to look at can reduce headaches and tiredness. 

Remember to note that this is your study space, so make it suit your wants and needs to maximize your concentration. 

Tip 3: Block digital distractions 

Staying focused and being present can be exceptionally challenging when learning and studying have become virtual. 

One recommendation is installing Forest, a free Google Chrome extension designed to help you focus. With this browser, you can blacklist and whitelist all the websites that can potentially distract you. This extension only allows you to use the websites that will only increase your productivity. 

Another recommendation is the traditional standard or putting your phone out of reach and out of sight. It is tempting to go on our phones and scroll endlessly on social media apps, but by this simple step, you will accomplish the goals set out for the day. 

Tip 4: Ensure no issues with your testing environment 

In preparation for online exams, it is imperative to ensure that your testing environment is suitable for academic success with zero interruptions and complications. 

If you are taking your online exam on a desktop or laptop, it is vital to make sure the devices are fully charged. Depending on the exams, they can range from thirty minutes to two hours long. 

Along with having a charged device, having a reliable and robust internet source is crucial for success. If accessible, connecting your laptop to an ethernet cable would be ideal because you are guaranteed more substantial service. 

If an ethernet cable is not accessible, try running a speed test on Google to determine how fast your WiFi connection is. 

As another precaution, you can ask your family members, roommates or housemates, to disconnect from the WiFi for the duration of your exam. 

Tip 5: Reviewing the material 

Many people tend to have different studying habits. This tip is to serve as guidance for those who may not know how or where to start. 

The first step you can take to get started is by reviewing the material you feel the weakest in. You can do this by rewatching lectures, rereading your notes, and jotting down the ideas and concepts you would like to focus on more in-depth. 

Kinesiology sophomore Shayla Petrie offered her techniques for preparing for her online exams. 

“I use my hand taken notes and put them all out in front of me and look them over,” she said. “I use other people’s quizlets if they have them.”

Another great way to review class material is referencing a study guide, whether that is one you made or one that the teacher created and shared. 

If you make your own flashcards, you can use Quizlet, an online platform that allows you to create, study, and share the study sets you have made or that previous students have created. 

Although Quizlet is an easily accessible way to study, it should not be the most reliable method of studying if you are referencing an already made study set. You run the risk of misinformation and this can hurt your studying. 

The best way to utilize Quizlet is to make your own study set.  

Tip 6: Find ways to hold yourself accountable 

An efficient way to keep yourself motivated and productive is finding ways to connect with people.

Two ways to approach this method is creating a study group or having one other person in the same class. This can help establish ties and develop a way to connect and study with others. This also reduces the feeling of you feeling isolated and stuck behind a screen. 

Messaging applications like GroupMe, Discord and Facebook Messenger are options to build that bond with classmates. 

Zoom is another option and can be an acceptable way to talk to your peers and another way to feel more involved with your academic endeavors. Through Zoom, you can connect and share your screens with your classmates and discuss material on a deeper level.

 Sometimes explanations coming from your peers can be beneficial in terms of comprehension. 

Tip 7: Do not forget to take breaks

Do not put too much on yourself to study all in one sitting. 

It is essential to take breaks, especially in non-digital ways. This can help you increase your productivity levels, and this also allows your eyes to rest instead of straining them the entire time you are behind a screen. 

Taking a break from your study session can also help maintain your performance throughout the day and reduce the need for long durations of recovery at the end of a study session. 

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