Let me first say congratulations to you for being focused on your studies this year. It hasn’t been easy with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the life changes we had to make in order to adapt. The fact that you kept going despite all the stress, the long hours of studying, and most likely having to do it remotely because you couldn’t attend school like you’re used to — it hows your mental strength and self-discipline.
Since you have a few weeks left, don’t let all the hard work you did up until now go to waste. And speaking of don’ts, there are two other things I recommend you do NOT do:
Don’t allow distractions to take over each day. This applies to watching TV every evening, sending text messages to friends throughout the day, listening to the news, or scrolling through your Instagram feed. It’s just putting off what you need to do. Leave all of these activities for after exams. It’s about being self-disciplined but you have to do it.
Don’t stay up all night cramming. Yes, your exam is coming up and you are panicking, but it’s important not to neglect your brain. It needs time to process and consolidate the new material you’ve covered, so that it can recall information when you need it. You may not have time for a full 8 hours, but do your best to sleep 6–7 hours each night if possible.
Now for the most important part — what can you do when you have a few weeks left? Here’s what I suggest:
Study new material early in the day.
Doing your hard work early in the day allows your brain to focus fully on the problem at hand, with fewer distractions. For most people, your brain’s peak performance is in the first 4 hours after you wake up. That’s when your brain can focus on analytical thinking. For studying, this can be reading, writing, coding, analyzing, critical thinking, or problem solving.
If you wake up at 7, your peak times are until 11 a.m. You can extend this time until lunch to maximize your performance.
Go to sleep on time.
You may be studying for an exam, but in order to pass you'll need to make sure your brain functions at optimum levels. Chronic sleep deprivation can reduce your cognitive abilities, can impact your concentration, and can even reduce your IQ. Don’t waste all that time you spent studying.
Set a bedtime alarm to go off 30 minutes before going to sleep. Stay away from electronics (mainly your computer and TV screens) an hour before bed. Do something relaxing before hitting the pillow: read a chapter from a book, listen to music, have a cup of hot tea.
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