Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Staying on Track for Week Two of Exams

I find that a lot of students have motivation and tiredness problems during the second week of exams.  They are almost done, but their energy is flagging.  Here are some tips for making the last week of exams less stressful:

It is not unusual to feel your motivation slipping if you have already had several exams or turned in several papers.  Try some of the following if you are feeling unmotivated:

  • Break large tasks down into smaller pieces that can be focused on one step at a time.  Getting started is the hard part usually.  Examples would be:
  1. It is easier to get motivated to study one sub-topic in your outline than to study the            entire topic.
  2. It is easier to agree to do 5 multiple-choice questions than to complete 15 of them.
  3. It is easier to spend 10 minutes on flashcards than 30 minutes.
  4. It is easier to decide to write 1 page of a paper than to complete it in one go.
  • Give yourself rewards for staying on task.  Each person has different rewards that appeal; find the ones that work for you.
  1. For a small task, take a 10-minute break or get a cup of tea or walk around the law school a few times.
  2. For a medium-sized task, take a 30-minute break or make a phone call to a friend or get a snack.
  3. For a large task, take 1-2 hours off or read several chapters in a fluff novel or watch a movie.

It is not unusual to be getting tired if you have already had several exams.  Try some of the following if that is how you feel:

  • Take short breaks every 60 - 90 minutes if you are having trouble staying focused.
  • Eat breakfast to give your body fuel in the morning; even a piece of fruit, yoghurt, or toast can make a difference.
  • Take time for a healthy lunch so that you can refuel; try to avoid junk food if you can.
  • Carry some healthy energy snacks in your backpack to boost your energy when it drops in the afternoon: apples, nuts, small boxes of raisins, granola bars.
  • If you nap, make it for ½ hour or less; long naps tend to make you groggy and disrupt your sleep cycle when you go to bed at night.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep per night to recharge your batteries for this week.

Feeling stressed or sluggish?  Add exercise back into your week if you have let your usual routine slip.  Exercise is one of the best ways to defuse stress, raise your sagging spirits, and sleep better at night.  Even 30 minutes will help you feel more energized and calm.

Lift your spirits by looking ahead.  Plan two or three fun things for after exams are over.  If you have some things to look forward to, it is easier to grit your teeth and get on with what you have to do right now.

Get a pep talk to keep yourself going.  Phone your friends or family for encouragement.  Talk to someone who believes in you.  Shamelessly ask for affirmation! (Amy Jarmon)

 

 

 

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