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Exam season is upon us, and with it comes a fair amount of stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Many students might not realize that there is a way to manage your time effectively in preparation for exams. Queen’s Student Academic Success Services (SASS) has an entire module on exam prep that is worth taking a glance at. They have also developed a study calendar that will be of interest to online students in multiple courses who are looking for a clear, visual way to structure their time.

SASS suggests studying in 3-hour blocks. Most exams are 3 hours long, so this study strategy gives you a good idea of how much time you will have come exam day. Within each 3-hour study block, use the 50/10 rule: work for 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. This rule is important; studying for 3 hours straight without a break is not useful for most people. If I try to study for that long I generally find myself reading the same sentence several times in a row without actually retaining the information. So take that 10 minute break to grab a coffee, go for a walk, chat with a friend or check your email. These are things you should not be doing during your 50 minutes of dedicated study time, so take advantage of your 10 minute breaks!

Another good tip has to do with getting into the mindset for exams – you need to make sure that distractions are minimized as much as possible, which can be a difficult task. See our self-care resources, particularly the section on mindfulness. Consciously preparing yourself to study and to write the exam by doing a quick 2 minute mindfulness exercise can be a great way to focus.

Finally, if you’re like me and there are about 100 things you’d rather be doing than studying, see our blog on procrastination

Best of luck on exams!