Hi everyone! Hope you have all been doing well and looking after yourselves in the mid-sem break so far! By now, you’re a seasoned pre-medder: exposed to the wit of Brent Copp and Rod Jackson’s endless quips about butter and his lunch. It’s now time to sit your first tests and I can imagine that there are a few nerves around this test. I’ll try alleviate some of that for you here.
Weeks 6 and 7 of semester are typically known as “test week” or the test period. It’s not an easy few weeks because you still have classes all the while being assessed. It’s no wonder KEIC gets packed, MunchyMart revenue goes up (...probably?), there’s no comfortable isolated location in Gen Lib, and rubbish bins are full with empty coffee cups.
It’s time to get down to business and revise well for these tests yet the allure of not studying (i.e. literally anything else) is tempting you elsewhere! We totes understand :C
What I can probably give you more help on is general test advice. I feel that most people have a good grasp of the content but once they enter the exam room, they begin to crumble and make mistakes. Test mentality isn’t something you can really ‘train’ but these are some of the things that helped me last year.
Here we’ve compiled: Part A - test preparation and tips, and Part B - test week tips.
Part A: Test prep/tips
1. Make sure you’re crystal clear about test logistics. Needless to say, make sure you have the following:
2. Have a pre-test ritual. Do something that will clear your head out and calm yourself. Some people cram until the last 15 minutes but I think it’s good to take some time and out relax before a test. Personally, I always had dinner with friends. After a day’s worth of studying for the evening test, it was nice to be around good company and good food to ease the pre-test tension.
3. Avoid the trolls. You really need to be in a good head space before a test. A little bit of nervousness to show that you actually care, but not too anxious to affect you from thinking straight. Hanging around the wrong crowd of people might just panic you unnecessarily; like asking weird and obscure questions; I often just used the excuse of different test rooms to just get a final escape to be with myself and chillax. You don’t any more stress than what you already have. Additionally, I would probably avoid Facebook pages/Piazza. Honestly, just too many trolls.
4. Remember the basics. Read the question and answer questions properly. You really don’t want to lose marks for mis-reading something, especially if you actually knew the answer.
5. Check, double check and triple check. Time dependent but this is pretty self-explanatory. When you check, do the question as if you’re doing it for the first time. Pay attention to detail as well, like checking that you have the correct units. Don’t fall into the trap of “briefly going through the question, tricking your mind into thinking everything is familiar and easy, then skimming past it” - you may as well not have checked it!
6. Finally, just a word for the future. The usual story is that after a test, people aren’t happy with the marks they got and start fearing for their GPA. It’s definitely understandable in such a high stakes environment but it’s important to think in the other direction. One test does not define your overall grade. You can worry or sulk about a disappointing mark but make sure you pick yourself up and refocus yourself. There are other things to worry about and if you’re still stuck thinking on that one test you could have done better in, you won’t be fully concentrating and your other tests start taking a hit too. Pre-med is already more on the negative side, with its inherent stress and tension. Don’t add to it when you can change the outlook for yourself
Part B - Test week Tips
1. Study in an atypical location.
Time to buckle down and study! I hate to say it, but sometimes you just gotta be antisocial and avoid people. Go to the Law Library if you must. Go to the engi leech. Just go somewhere where you won’t see too many familiar faces so you can really focus. Kate Edgar IC Lv4 is great and all; but probs filled with tonnes of other biomedders too T_T
2. Turn off distractions.
Turn your phone on silent. Close the FB tab. Print out your notes even. Try to train yourself to study in 40 minute increments (or whatever time works well for you - it’s just often recommended to study in 40m increments). Take a short break; check your notifications/take a walk; then get back to it!
3. Aegrotat - just be aware of it.
Life happens. Shit happens. Be aware that if something drastic happens, for example, family emergencies, personal injury etc., you can apply for compassionate consideration, or, aegrotat. Your most important thing to do is try to keep calm and follow these steps
4. Try to avoid getting sick.
Nothing characterises an angry atmosphere better than the broken silence from the consistent noise of coughing, sniffling, and sneezing in a quiet study space. Make sure you get enough sleep; stay active; eat well - just do whatever the basic things you gotta do to avoid getting sick. Your brain’s got to process enough information without having to deal with antibodies pulsating through your body!
5. Make plans for after test week.
Whilst you might not be that excited about studying, perhaps the thought of going on that road-trip might be motivation itself. Something to keep the light at the end of the tunnel bright.
Stay awesome fam xx