How do I stop taking care of exams

How to study for your exams and still stay happy

by Tim Reichel

It's that time again: your mood has hit rock bottom. Nothing works anymore; everything is bad - with no prospect of improvement.

The reason: Your exam phase is here.

In every semester, the dissatisfaction among students increases the further it goes towards exams. Many change their way of life during this time by 180 degrees and focus 100 percent on the upcoming exams. The semester should ultimately be completed successfully.

In itself there is nothing wrong with this plan, if it did not ensure that thousands of innocent students become drooling zombies, to whom nothing is important except index cards and credit points. In addition: the approach “the main thing is to learn a lot - the rest does not matter” does not even lead with certainty that you will achieve the best result in your exams.

Only one thing is certain: you are making yourself miserable.

But there is another way. I'll show you how


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You are not unhappy about your exam preparation

First, we need to get one thing straight: your exams are not the reason you are unhappy. Exam situations (and their preparation) are part of studying. They are an integral part of your student life - you can't do without them.

But if it's not the actual exam preparation that is mentally pulling you down, then what is it?

It's the way you go about it.

Being happy in the exam phase basically depends on two things: your attitude and your strategy. And the good news is, you can work on both points.

Of course you are stressed and under great pressure during the exam phase - every student goes through that. But if you are barely accessible semester after semester during this period and are on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time, you should change something.


Happy despite the exam phase: 7 measures that really help

If you want to be happy despite chord learning and exam stress, you don't have to change much. It is enough if you study a little more consciously and adapt your approach.

These seven measures will help you:


1. Realize that you have to make sacrifices!

Your exam preparation is no walk in the park. At times it is a ride through hell. It is exhausting, nerve-wracking and time-consuming. And: You will have to neglect other areas of your life if you want to optimally prepare for your upcoming exams.

That's the deal: if you want to be successful, you have to make sacrifices. Especially when you have high expectations of yourself. Getting everything under one roof - as always - will not work. If you are not ready to consciously set priorities, the pressure on your shoulders will eventually become unbearable. So be realistic and choose what is important to you.


2. Establish a battle plan!

Do you plan your preparation? Or do you just start learning and hope that somehow it will be enough in the end? Many exam phases are chaotic. A short planning would provide a lot more peace and quiet and reduce your stress.

If you know what to do in your exam preparation and what you have to pay attention to, you will not get bogged down and you will keep track of things. You create orientation and structure. And this foundation gives you security and a solid foundation. Or something more martial: You can only defeat him (pass him as well as possible) if you carefully analyze your enemy (test) beforehand and come up with a plan.


3. Sleep!

Sleep is one of the most precious commodities for students who take their studies seriously. For many, sleep is a luxury - but it is the basis for high performance. If you sleep more, you can do more. Even if a lack of sleep has somehow become "cool" and everyone uses it to show how little they slept last night: Lack of sleep makes you unproductive and unhappy.

If you sit at your desk and study all the time, sleepless, it's like studying drunk. And experience has shown that drunk people are not as good at memorizing information or understanding complicated relationships. Tired of studying is not hardworking - it's stupid. Go to sleep!


4. Stop learning!

Huh? What I mean is: do. Times. Break. Not for four hours and not every five minutes, but regularly and according to a system. Because breaks are just as important in learning as the learning units themselves. The same rule applies as in sport: Without interim relaxation, no development.

If you do a task for several hours at a time, your concentration inevitably decreases. At some point you can't get anything done, cramp up and become dissatisfied. On the other hand, it is much more efficient and healthier if you work in short stages and take small breaks in between. In this article, I'll show you a suitable technique for doing this.


5. Write down your successes - no matter how small they are!

In the stress of preparation, many students only see the mountain of tasks that lies ahead of them. They forget what they have already achieved and what challenges they have mastered on their way so far. And that subjective perception is daunting. It distorts the image you have of yourself and cuts your self-confidence.

As a countermeasure, you should get into the habit of recording your daily successes - no matter how small they are. To do this, keep a small learning diary and note every evening what went well and where you see potential for improvement. Very important: focus on the positive. In this article I will give you a simple template for your new journal.


6. Forgive yourself for mistakes - no matter how big they are!

Did the study session not go according to plan yesterday? Did you start studying much too late again? Was your last exam a disaster? Then this: Fuck it. Don't let your mistakes drag you down. Be aware of them, learn from them, and tick them off. And preferably as soon as possible.

During your exam preparation, you cannot afford to mourn past opportunities or complain of your own mistakes. It doesn't matter what happened in the past. It doesn't matter what mistakes you made. It is important that you are fully there now and can take care of your tasks. If you are now focused and no longer angry with yourself, you can straighten everything that went wrong.


7. Don't isolate yourself completely!

If you're one of those students who isolate themselves for weeks before exams and study behind closed doors, there's no better way to make yourself miserable. Exam preparation does not mean that you have to give up everything in your life uncompromisingly. Yes, you have to set priorities. But your social life can still continue to exist. And it has to.

If you withdraw completely, your student life becomes boring. As a result, your motivation to learn disappears and you lose sight of the meaning of your studies at some point. Every now and then you need fresh impulses from outside and the closeness of other people. That's why you can also meet your fellow students during the exam phase, visit your friends or call your grandma. Don't isolate yourself completely!


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The exam phase is the most strenuous and difficult part of your semester. But even if you have a lot to do and are under enormous pressure, this time can be nice and fun.

It just depends how you go about it. Your attitude and your strategy are decisive.

If you can get these two lucky factors under control and adjust them correctly, you can learn productively for your exams - without becoming unhappy.


Image: © Delaney Dawson /