• Kristen Aguilar

5 Epic Ways to Ace Your Exams

Final exams come quick this year.



I have had some pretty wild ideas right before final exams.


Everything from building a tiny house by hand to jet skiing out on a lake to test cooking a full course Thanksgiving style meal from scratch for no apparent reason.


I once got this new music beat in my head that I wanted to literally sit down and produce on the spot with synth and keys right before a final exam.


Anything and just about everything good and decent looks way more exciting than sitting down and studying for an exam.


But in order to stress less and finish strong each semester despite any final exam, one has to be able to focus long enough to study well.


It is not always easy to do but it is possible.


While all your friends are complaining and groaning about finals week, you can be resilient, focused and ready to ace your exams.


Here are five study tips and hacks I have used to ace exams and to make it through each and every semester (no matter how easy or how challenging the classes would be).


Feel free to add these to your study vibes as you move forward.


Declutter Your Schedule



Have you ever walked into a room and realized it wasn’t as clutter free as it could be?


Shoes on the floor...blankets that need freshening...dog toys that need putting away...


Stuff like that.


Now imagine a bunch of your friends are coming over to hang out over some good food in a few days.


As a good friend, what do you do?


Hopefully, you clean up your mess.


Just like a friend [hopefully] runs around their house picking up things and putting them away before friends get there, you can choose to declutter your schedule before final exams.


Decluttering your world before a final exam may look like tapering back on the social media use; it may mean you make the effort to get to bed earlier or it may require you to turn down some event invitations that come along.


It also may look like streamlining your home and life responsibilities.


For example, it can look like planning your meals and grocery list in advance to make one trip every week or two instead of running by the store whenever you need something specific.


Or it could even look like cutting back on drama (or contact with the people who you know bring the drama).


Whatever it looks like for you, declutter your schedule on purpose as you prepare for final exams.


The less clutter you have the more organized you can look and feel going into your exams.


It can also help you maintain endurance and focus.


Ignore the urge to tackle something else.



This is not the time to distract yourself by scrubbing every square inch of your living space.


It is not the time to organize your socks by color and pattern.


It is not the time to go on a cooking craze, Netflix binge, video game marathon, a Snapstreak or to drop in on your next door neighbor who lives like a minimalist.


They don’t need to counsel you on all things life, relationships and money right now.



Remember, everything and just about anything can look better than studying for your exams.


If you are anything like me, you are going to feel tempted to do, say, start or tackle something else.


That is exactly when you know you need to cut back on any clutter in your schedule and to focus on tackling your studies (not on everything else that unnecessarily beckons your attention).


Your sock drawer can wait and you can always start a new Snapstreak later.


Diligence is not a dirty word.



One of my friends wrinkled up their nose when I used the word diligence in a sentence.


You would have thought they had caught a whiff of a pile of dead fish rotting out under a hot sun.


Ew, gross.


The reaction was more involuntary than anything else but it reminded us both that the process of diligence doesn’t always sound fabulous.


Diligence means “marked by persevering, painstaking effort.”


It can also be thought of as being “constant in study or effort to accomplish what is undertaken; attentive and persistent in doing anything; industrious; assiduous”.


To be diligent means to persevere constantly and consistently and to focus on accomplishing the tasks set before you with a painstaking and industrious energy and attitude.


In other words, it’s not a thrill a minute and it’s not always fun to do.


So why diligence?


One of my mentors says it like this: The hands of the diligent shall rule.


This means that if you expect to gain success you need to be able to be diligent more than just when it suits your schedule or your feelings.


A diligent approach starts off more like a mindset before it shows up in your actions but both are essential to winning during final exam week.


Diligence = ruling or success?


Not such a dirty word after all…


Review the concepts and main points.



Whether or not your professor gives you hints or reviews concepts with you before your final exams, make sure your take the time to review the concepts and main points from each course in the semester.


Go over any notes you have made or any materials that were given to you during a lecture.


Know your course material as much as possible.


This can help you stay alert to trick questions, essay questions or help you avoid freaking out before, during or after exams.


The more you know your material, the more confidence you can feel when taking an exam.


Fear feels more empowered to bother you when you haven’t prepared.


When you prepare to the best of your ability, you can look fear in the face and say…


“Nah, man. Not today.”


Or


“Come what may, it’s all going to be okay.”


Balance sleep, food and drink.



Now is not the time to compete with a friend to see who can stay up the longest.


It is not the time to try the latest diet or to completely alter your food or drinking habits on the fly.


Now is the time to focus and study and prepare for final exams.


After final exams are over you can experiment with a keto-friendly pizza casserole or stay up to catch the late-into-the-night concert.


No matter what people around you brag about doing, stay focused until you finish strong.


If you are anything like me, there is a chance you may get some pretty adventurous or ambitious ideas right before final exams.


Or at the very least, you may feel like doing something else other than studying.


Either way, these tips can help you prepare for both the best and the toughest final exams.


Hang in there, it gets better.


Exams don’t last forever.


Happy studying!

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