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How To: Survive Exams!

How To: Survive Exams!

Tue, 18 Oct 2022

written by Yael Raz

To help you prepare for the upcoming exams, the PaparaC has gone around the TK to ask experienced students how they survive the exam weeks. What is the successful AI-student’s golden tip on passing exams and staying sane at the same time? Read all about it in this blogpost!


What do most people agree helps to pass your exams? More than 25% of respondents recommended getting enough rest or sleep during this period. Nick (B3) says: Be well rested when you’re studying, it doesn’t help your memory to study all night if you are too tired the next day. And Elena (M1) adds that you should: Always prioritize sleep, because otherwise you will definitely crash at some point. And resting is not only about sleeping enough hours, as Cis (B4) points out: Don’t forget to also take breaks from studying, it’s equally as important to rest as it is to get enough study hours.


The next most mentioned recommendation was to start on time! It’s probably the embodiment of the term “easier said than done”, but in the words of Gijs (B2): Preparation is the golden tip, don’t wait until the last moment. Another student (M1) corroborated, saying: the best is to just start doing stuff. As you can see, across all levels of the study, students agree that you probably shouldn’t start the day before the exam.


The third most brought up tip was to have a structured plan for your studying. Some even go as far as recommending you plan out the whole course (Evelien (M1)). A B4 student mentions they think that: Planning is most important, you should know when you want to do what. To make a structured plan the PaparaC can recommend making an overview of your exams and study load in Excel (or any other spreadsheet software). Having a digital spreadsheet helps to have an adaptive schedule and you can use all types of commands to make it easier to track your progress. Curious to know more? Look up “study plan template [spreadsheet software]” online!


Another popular tip was to study at university. Most people to name this one agreed that the library is the best space, in the words of Fenna (B4): I work best in spaces where other people are also working, I can concentrate best in the library. Some people also name the TK (MM 01.430) as a location they like to study at, but they do admit it’s not always the best place to stay focused. Herman (B3) mentions another important point as to why studying at university is a good idea, namely he advises to study in a different space from where you relax


A recommendation that was just as popular as studying at university was watching the lectures. Whether you do so at two times the speed (M1) or just the normal speed, reviewing the lectures is a good way to check if you haven’t missed anything during the course. Alexandru (B4) goes further than that, saying: It’s important to attend the workgroups, do the assignments and watch the lectures. This emphasizes again that studying for exams is more than what you do during exam period, it’s also about how you work during the entirety of the course.


These were the five most popular answers, however, during our investigation we also heard some other tips that we found worth sharing with you, our lovely reader (and possibly desperate student).


Noa (M1) recommends using the Pomodoro Technique when it comes to studying. The technique basically entails intensely studying for a short while, taking a little break, and repeating that process. Noa often uses a specific website for setting the timer. She likes it because: it forces [her] to stay focused and it’s not too long to lose motivation. We think this could be a fun one to try out!


Jasper (B2) told us he survives exams by doing the practice exam whenever one is made available, they are really key to [him] passing a course. Oftentimes practice exams/questions are made available by the teacher on Brightspace. If not, it might be that the assignments are a good example of the exam questions and you can always look through those again.


Alexandru (B4), whom we also heard from before, also recommended that you sit together with friends while you are studying. This might sound counterintuitive, but he states that you can more easily share ideas when you are with others. We have to agree, because in the end we’re all in this together (cue High School Musical soundtrack).


Finally we think Inessa (B3) makes a great point with her golden tip: using the CognAC study materials, especially the Crash Courses and the summaries on the Study Cloud. You can find some old Crash Courses on the CognAC YouTube channel, but the Study Committee also organizes them around the exam period. The Study Cloud is linked in the Weekly Mail and on the CognAC Website on this page (make sure you’re logged in).


Well, we hope this gives you some more inspiration on how to survive the coming weeks. Some final remarks; always bring your student ID, another valid ID (e.g., passport, ID card) and some water with you to your exams. And never take your phone or watch with you into the exam room. 


We wish you a successful exam season!