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  • Harsh

Take a Chill-Pill : Tips and Tricks to Hack the Exams

The exams are round the corner and you are petrified with stress and anxiety. You missed a few crucial classes and now you need a sturdy strategy to slay the exams. Well, take a chill pill; you are at the right place. This article will equip you with a set of fantastic tips, tricks and hacks to bust stress and prepare efficiently for the exams.

As Simon Sinek puts it up, Start with why. Why do you need to take these exams? Not just to pass them, but to win them. The purpose of an examination is to test your knowledge of the subject and justify your learning. Therefore, please do not try to escape the exams. Do not be one of those guys who cherishes a ’6’ and marinates in his own mediocrity. Instead, look up to exams; they are a great source of motivation and a chance to compete against yourself. If you are reading this, I want you to give your best in your upcoming exams.

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With that punch of inspiration, let me help you have a systematic approach towards exam-preparation. First, analyse what you need to know for the exam. Contact the lecturer, read the syllabus, examine previous exams, ask fellow students and make a mental image of what the exam would look like. If you picurise your target, achieving it becomes much easier. In The Netherlands, the pattern of exam is usually recurring; lecturers mention it if this is not the case. In a majority of courses, the previous exams are uploaded in the study portal. If not, you can obtain them by looking into study associations or websites like Look through these exams and know what you have to know.

Second, formulate a sexy schedule. By sexy, I mean it should be long enough to cover the subject, and short enough to make it interesting. Divide the workload thoroughly between the days and make sure you have abundant time to revise and take practise exams. Make intervals of study sessions and take short breaks to replenish your reservoir of creative energy. Stick to your plan and lead yourself to glory. Below, I present you some helpful tricks you can do to hack your mind and boost your productivity.

1. Have a proper diet: You should eat healthy, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, especially berries, citrus fruits, and peppers. Also keep some small bites by your desk like blueberries, nuts, dark chocolate, boiled eggs, etc which are said to ‘boost the activities of your brain’. Do not skip meals, particularly the breakfast, and maintain a proper habit of eating on time. However, do not eat too much in one meal as this may make you feel sleepy.

2. Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness. For every project throughout the day, budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically. Work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break. Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. You will probably begin to notice a difference in your study process within a day or two.

3. Study Environment: The way we surround ourselves while studying plays a huge impact on us. Working on a messy table with things thrown around can be very frustrating. Instead, clean your desk and room, pull the curtains aside and allow some sunshine to come in. This will make your mind organised and tolerant so that you can focus on your study better. Also, keep switching the rooms where you study, do every 3rd or 4th pomodoro in your living room. Study have also shown that wearing professional outfit while studying results to better discipline in the routine and hence greater productivity.

4. Take a proper break: Breaks are your rewards for making it through the pomodoros. Enjoy your break to the fullest, bend your mind in any creative way possible. In a 20 minute break, you can cook, for example, a healthy omelette. Cooking is a therapy to replenish creative energy. Or try cleaning something instead. Cleaning induces need for organisation in your brain. Or watch some stand-up comedy, laughing is the best medicine. Drink lots of water, being dehydrated can reduce your concentration levels. Or well, do some cardio or take a walk. It’s been proven that exercise can boost your memory and brain power. Research conducted by Dr. Chuck Hillman of the University of Illinois provides evidence that about 20 minutes exercise before an exam can improve performance.

5. Use study gears: While going through the slides, take notes of things you did not know. Compile these notes briefly in a cheat-sheet in such a way that it takes no longer than 15 minutes to go through it. You now have a 15 minute revision tool before exams! Moreover, make planners and divide your pomodoros into proper sections. Surround yourself with colourful sticky notes and flashcards of things you need to remember. Our brain has such an affinity for colourful images that it might help you remember it during the exams. If you learned a new concept, try to explain it to yourself without any reference. If you can teach it properly, you have learned it properly. By doing these, you are not only working harder, but also smarter!

6. Listen to Study Music: Listening to music has been shown to cause the release of dopamine, meaning that it is a pleasurable, rewarding experience which can relax an individual. Music has one of the most abundant phenomena of the Universe: rhythm. When you listen to focus music, your brain, given the affinity it has for patterns, gets stuck to the rhythm of the music and hence you are able to concentrate better. Why do you think you did not think about anything else while playing video games? Keep playing some ambient or some focus music from Spotify or YouTube to maximise your concentration.

7. Be live in Exam Groups: You probably have a social media group of fellow students for discussing study materials. Such groups are a great source to get updates about exams. Make the proper use of social media! Be active on such groups and ask your doubts. If you do not have any such doubts in the material, go through the questions posted by others, there might be something you didn’t know that you didn’t know! Also, answering others is a good revision for yourself and adds to your karma depository. Thank you for reading this article and I hope it helps you in your exam preparations. Let us know about your stories of success. Write to us via our email. As a tribute, you can check out my youtube channel where I dig out science from everyday stuffs.


Harsh Khandelwal.

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