Spring Break is officially here, but it was not an easy journey! This week was an exhausting one, but also very fulfilling. Unlike university where your exams are spread out over a couple of weeks, BCIT fits all your exams into one week. So for the past five days, I wrote five exams. Last year I believe we did six. It really felt like a marathon by the time we had finished.
I actually like don’t mind doing exams this way. In the end you’re forced to get into your study groove right away because of the time crunch. Another difference about exams (at least for marketing) is that they contain a lot more applied content than in university, where you often have to write long essays for your exams. The majority of my exams this week were multiple choice with some short answers, applying what we had learned. This is especially true in first year marketing, where you have accounting, business math and stats; all requiring you to do calculations and to problem solve.
It may be a little late for studying tips.. but these can carry over to finals in May. Here are some things I’ve learned that can help with writing and studying for exams:
1. Write it out. A lot of instructors will give you powerpoint slides already printed. I find the best way to study is to buy a notebook with a section for each exam and start re-writing all the content. This helps your brain process everything a lot faster than just reading and highlighting the already printed notes.
I bought a five-course notebook for this week, which was convenient for my five exams. It helped to keep everything in one place. I also use lots of colour, highlighting headings and important lists.
2. Create a ritual for exams. Whether it’s working out before an exam, doing yoga or going over flashcards, everyone has something they can do to help them concentrate better in exams. I have some friends who swear by chewing a candy to improve their focus during exams. This week I had a green tea flavoured ginger ale before each exam. The sugar and little bit of caffeine really helped my mood and focus. I find energy drinks or coffee are a bit too much, they can often make you more nervous and jittery before writing an exam, which you do not want.
3. Be early. You may know where all your regular classes are. But, for exam week everything goes out of whack! In first year we had exams off campus near BCIT, because of how packed all the regular classrooms and lecture halls were. This year, we had one exam in NE28… our set actually had to circulate a map over Facebook the night before the exam, since it was a building we had never set foot into before. Now I can say I’ve been into the centre of the trades area of BCIT!
4. Bring two calculators. Chances are, a friend may forget, or yours could break. You don’t want to be rushing around campus finding a place that sells calculators minutes before your exam. I definitely think they mark up the prices on campus for calculators for that reason alone!
5. Get off Facebook. Ok, well I didn’t follow this rule this time. But in the past for finals I’ve gotten a friend to change the password on my account for a temporary time period, just so I am not able to log on. This was when I was in university and there was a greater chance of procrastinating with so much time in between exams. But if you’re addicted this could help!
I’m now ready to relax and do a bit of spring cleaning. I’m planning on getting organized for my internship, like getting work outfits together, figuring out transit routes etc. I can’t wait to spend some time with family/friends this coming week. I’ll be off to Whistler for a couple days – not exactly a sunny destination, but it should be lots of fun nevertheless. Wishing everyone a safe and fun Spring Break!