How to Conquer College Exams in 9 Steps

College exams can be very overwhelming.  They may even be so overwhelming you struggle with composing yourself and have difficulty concentrating.  I am going to walk you through 9 steps to conquer your next round of college exams. Okay. Go…
college examsStep 1: Prepare! Make sure you fit as much of the subject material into your brain as you can!

Step 2: Wear clothes you feel good in. Feeling comfortable or like you are putting your best foot forward will give you the right mindset going into the exam.

Step 3: Tell Yourself “I’m gonna ace this.” Believing in yourself is an important part of the process.

Step 4: Listen to your pump up playlist. If you don’t have a Pre-Exam Study playlist, make one and listen to it on your way to the exam.

Step 5: Breathe. I think this one is self-explanatory.

Step 6: Be well rested. Having to drink caffeine right before an exam can make you jittery and over think the test.

Step 7: Draw a smiley-face on the top of your exam. Just do it.

Step 8: Do your best! That’s all anyone expects of you.

Step 9: Don’t agonize about the test afterwards, there is not anything you can do about it.

What other tips do you have for taking college exams? Share in the comment section below!

Best Ways to Reach Out to Your Professor

It can often be intimidating to try and talk to your professor. Maybe you’re nervous, maybe you aren’t quite sure what to say, or how to approach the situation, but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Here are the best ways to reach out to your professors:

Get to Class Early or Stay Late: It’s nice to give your prof the heads up that you have a concern, or something you want to speak to them about. This doesn’t mean you have to spill your guts to them right there in front of your whole class, but it does set the stage for you to gather your thoughts, let them know you want to discuss a few things, and set up a time to meet.

Email or Call Them: On every syllabus I’ve received, my professors have listed both their email and phone numbers—the really brave ones even put their cell phone numbers with the bold statement to “shoot them a text”. Now, you don’t have to send them any emoticons or give the 411 via text, but if you aren’t comfortable speaking to them in front of others, send them an email asking about office hours, or when they would be available for a meeting. This is low risk, and doesn’t put your prof on the spot to tell you when they are free—in fact it gives you the chance to check your schedule too!

Stop by Their Office: So you don’t want to talk to them in class, and you don’t have a computer handy, instead why not try stopping by their office. You can be casual and see if they are free, or make an appointment to come back. Going in person lets them put a face with a name and a little time to prepare information for your meeting.

Here are some important tips to remember regardless of how you decided to approach them, in any situation it’s best to remember these rules—even if you “shoot them a text”!

  • Don’t blame your teacher or accuse them of anything. No matter how unfair you think that last test was, or how much you struggle with their teaching style try and remember to make “I” statements, not “You” statements. You can feel a certain way and express those opinions constructively. If you blame your professors for your frustrations you put them on the defensive and they are less likely to want to be accommodating.
  • Be calm. The reason why it’s so effective to set up a meeting and come back to the situation is that it gives you time to cool off and collect what you want to say. Especially if there’s a problem, you want to come to the table prepared and not overly emotional. By putting some space between the event and your meeting you can put your best foot forward, and also give your prof some time to do the same—and think over any questions you may have posed when you set up the time to talk.
  • Finally, don’t underestimate your teachers. However scary or “mean” they seem in class, you may not be getting an accurate depiction of who they really are. The “meanest” teachers I’ve ever had actually turned out to be completely reasonable and ended up having the biggest effect on me. I learned more from professors who were tougher in class than I ever did from professors who tried too hard to be your friend. Be open to going to talk to your professors and don’t be nervous that they won’t understand. They want to help, they want to make sure you understand—that’s why they are there in the first place. Be open, be confident and be willing to see the bigger picture. Professors can help or hurt your attitude about a class. It’s your job to help connect the dots and find out how the two of you and your classmates can start to gel and really understand each other.


I’m reading The Hodges Harbrace Handbook

10 Tips for Acing Your Exams

There is no better feeling than walking out of a test knowing that you totally rocked it and have a great opportunity at getting the A you need to bring up your GPA. On the contrary, walking out of a test knowing that you bombed the exam totally sucks. For those who come out with their heads held high, keep doing what you’re doing. For those who are looking for a little guidance, read on. There are quite a few things you can do to increase those test scores–and sorry, cheating isn’t one of them.

1. GO TO CLASS. It sounds easy, but going to class is extremely underrated. Not only will it help with those in-class pop quizzes and attendance scores, but you’ll also figure out what your teacher is emphasizing for exams.

2. WRITE EXAM DATES IN YOUR CALENDAR. Planning ahead can help you organize your schedule before things start piling up; this way you can plan when to study for exams and when to work on that big research paper. By having your important dates organized in a calendar, you are constantly being reminded of upcoming deadlines. No more excuses to procrastinate!

3. STUDY IN A NEAT, QUIET, CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. Studies have shown that students who are studying in an organized environment are more likely to retain more information and make better grades. If you’ve got the time, you may want to consider tidying up before you crack open that textbook.

4. STUDY BASED ON YOUR LEARNING STYLE. Everyone is a little different when it comes to the way they study. Are you better at using flashcards or talking to others about particular concepts? Click here to see what kind of learning style suits your personality. By discovering how you normally process information, you can ignore ineffective learning techniques and focus on what clicks for you.

5. CREATE A STUDY GROUP. If you don’t already know some people  in your class, start making new friends! It is very helpful to get different perspectives on material; chances are you didn’t write down every single note or concept. When selecting study partners, make sure to choose people who actively participate in class. You want to include the annoying chick who raises her hand for every question, not the guy dozing off in the back of class.

6. STUDY IN ADVANCE. Yes, there are over 1,000 things you can think of doing instead of studying for a test. But guess what, you’re a big kid now and you need to start handling important priorities. Try taking 30 minutes or so to review the material every day instead of pulling an all-nighter. Give enough time to let the material sink in; cramming will push everything into your short-term memory banks, which is about as unreliable as an umbrella in a hurricane.

7. TAKE STUDY BREAKS. Study breaks are crucial because it gives your brain a little downtime to relax and let the material sink in better. If you push yourself too hard for too long, your brain will hit what I like to call “information overload”. Try and study at a consistent pace, taking breaks as needed, to lower your stress levels. You shouldn’t have to rely on No-Dos and Red Bulls to get you through those 6 chapters the night before the exam.

8. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. If there are any concepts you’re having trouble with, talk to your teacher about it. It is their job to help you, and office hours are their set times to talk to students in need.

9. MAKE A STUDY GUIDE. If the professor has not provided one for you, make an outline of the material that will be covered on the exam. This way you’ll have a bird’s eye view of what to study and what you can skip over.

10 REST UP. In my personal experience, getting a good night’s sleep TWO nights before the exam is crucial. Eating well–yes, that means a healthy meal–the night before and the morning of the test are also very important; your brain needs energy to properly function during the exam.

Study hard and make those grades!



I’m reading Human Anatomy and Physiology