The life of a working student is demanding and often chaotic. It requires determination, focus, vision and the ability to maintain a healthy balance between work and study. When it comes to preparing for an exam as a working student, it can be ridiculously stressful. Here are a few tips to help you not to get too overwhelmed:
1. Have shorter study sessions
Instead of struggling to find a big gap in your week where you can devote hours and hours to a marathon study session, try to have shorter study sessions more often.
Particularly for students who work full-time, long study sessions can be difficult to squeeze into an already packed schedule. Do a little bit of studying every day or every second day for half an hour to an hour. Studying regularly can be more effective than studying for long hours less often.
2. Set reminders
When you’re juggling work and studies alongside cooking, family time, commuting and life’s never-ending curveballs, it can be easy to forget to study – or even worse – to forget your exam date completely. So set reminders. Whether it’s on your phone or in the form of written notes to yourself, reminders can save your life.
3. Find the gaps in your day
If you take the bus or the train to work, consider studying during your daily commute. Of course, this might not work so well in a taxi, so it does depend on your mode of transportation.
Finding gaps in your day can be as simple as placing your study notes above your stove and reading through them while you’re waiting for the potatoes to boil. Note that these gaps cannot be the only time slots in which you study, as you may well get distracted. You will also need dedicated study time, where that is the only thing you do, but every little bit helps.
4. Plan with a calendar
Planning in advance by drawing up a set schedule is a tried and tested way of preparing for any exam. Even when you’re doing a distance learning course, make a note of your exam date and draw up a timetable in preparation for it. Ask yourself why you’re doing the course and when you want to finish it.
Put the exam date on your calendar, where you can see it, so that the date doesn’t creep up on you. Then stick to the timetable you’ve set for yourself. Having a goal helps with discipline. You can even cross out the days on your calendar as you approach the exam date.
5. Apply your knowledge in the workplace
Practising your new skills in real-world situations will not only help you learn more effectively, but it could also enhance your performance at work, depending on your job. As you acquire new knowledge through your studies, you might start to see situations in which you can apply that knowledge. This is a great exercise to help you absorb new material.
6. Remember to rest
Don’t overwork your body and mind. Always remember to get enough sleep, water, food and exercise. Between trying to find work-life balance and trying to stick to a study schedule, you will need downtime to rejuvenate so you can come back to your work fresher and more alert. Coffee, energy drinks and other stimulants can never replace the energy gained from a decent night’s sleep and a nutritious meal.
Looking for more tips? Maybe you’d like to know How Smart Students Actually Prepare for Exams. Give it a read and good luck to all the working students out there!