How To Survive Exams Overseas
Exams are intimidating, no matter what country you’re in. But there’s an extra element of horribleness added when you’re trying to study for exams in a country that you aren’t familiar with. Every school has their own set-up for the whole process of final exams, including scheduling, study time, and location. Don’t fret though: adapting to a new testing style can seem daunting at first, but here’s a few tips on how to survive exams overseas.
Exams at my home institution are all within a one week period, with several days of study time before the first day of the testing week. This was not the case when I was abroad. Since my host university was much larger, exams were drawn out over the course of a four-week period, and my exam schedule included an 18-day break before my last exam (yikes).
This meant learning to delegate time accordingly, and I had to make sure that I was allotting enough time to adequately study for all my exams. It’s helpful to lay out both your exams themselves and your study time prior to the start of exams in a planner or calendar of some sort. This can also help you visualize how much you have to do (and see that you actually do have enough hours in the day to complete everything you need to do).
Actually studying for the exams was completely different as well. In the US, there is much less pressure put on final exams because you have other exams and work due throughout the semester that adds into your final grade. So even if you don’t do that well on a final, you can still do well in the class.
At my host university, I had one exam that was worth 100% of my final grade. This can put a ton of pressure on you to do well, which can stress you out and make you less prepared for the exam itself. I found that I had to treat all exams as if they were home exams. This way, I could study the way that I normally do, which always worked in the past, instead of changing it up for the new format and possibly leading myself astray.
Lastly, remember to take breaks. No matter what kind of exam schedule you have, your brain will need a rest. Take a walk, go get coffee, find a cute little store to wander, or anything that separates you from studying for a little while. After a certain point, your brain can’t take in information as well, and so you’ll be more productive if you take a quick break to relax. Also, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep so that you can be awake and energized while studying and taking your exams. It can be tempting to stay up all night before a big test to study more, but this may hurt you more than it helps.
So, take a deep breath, and buckle down. You’ll survive exams, no matter how nerve-wracking they may be!