This week has been a true test of the character and constitution of GTL’s students. As the week before spring break, this week is optimal time for tests, right before the long mental relaxation period know as Spring Break. Before we can go on our week-long travels, however, we must be put through the grueling week known as… test week.
I had three tests this week, and although I mostly felt like screaming at walls and curling up in a small ball on the floor, there are some things that are really helpful to do in preparation that can alleviate anxiety and help you prepare for the tests.
1. Make a crib sheet – even if you don’t get one on the test
A really helpful study tool that I have found is compiling all of the relevant formulas and concepts on one or two sheets of paper, neatly organized. This allows you to understand what you need to study. It allows you to know what you don’t know, so to speak. Crib sheets, or review sheets in general help take your chaotic notes and ideas and put them into one place. From there, you can use it to do practice problems you are stuck on, memorize formulas, and practice concepts.
2. Make a study plan that involves sleep
It really helps me to set a goal for myself daily, whether it be doing a certain number of problems, reading a certain part of a textbook, or re-doing some in-class examples. If you set a daily goal, and make sure you meet the goal, you can feel prepared without cramming or staying up all night. I will be the first one to say, I am not very good at following this plan. However, at GTL, it is easier to focus. I usually stay at GTL until I am finished studying. Therefore, I can reserve the GTL student lounge for studying, and my dorm for relaxing and sleeping. This is much better for my sleep schedule, and general mental health.
3. Ask for help!
It’s a different atmosphere at GTL . The awesome thing about hanging out in the GTL lounge is that you are surrounded by people studying hard for tests, just like you. Although it can be a bit scary going up to someone you don’t know to ask for help on a problem, it actually benefits people to help explain a tricky problem or concept to you. Pull over one of the whiteboards, give it a go, and everyone wins!
4. Don’t burn out
If you are feeling like you are reading the same sentence in the textbook over and over and over and over again, don’t worry. Take a break. Get up, walk around, play some ping pong, and then come back. You will retain the information better on a well-rested mind.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone studies differently, and no two people learn the same. Don’t beat yourself up about not doing every single textbook problem, or not making that perfect review sheet. If someone says a concept is easy and you think it’s hard, do not despair. Just keep moving at your own pace, and don’t compare yourself. GTL can get like a small bubble sometimes, but comparing yourself to others will only damage your drive and motivation. The best person to beat is your past self.
So good luck test takers! Remember, relax and you got this!