(Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

We’ve all been there. The sleepless nights, the stress dreams and the panicking before the day of a wretched exam. It’s a feeling we’re all familiar with.

It’s a week before exams and everyone will soon be in the same boat. Hoping nothing will go wrong, trying to make sure the right material was studied and consuming mass amounts of junk food. It’s surely a miserable time.

A lot of stress comes from people worrying if they studied enough and if what’s in their notes and highlighted in their books is the right information. I’m here to tell you that even when prepared, you can still mess up.

It was my first exam in my first year of university. I studied for a week straight for the two-essay exam. The first question went by smoothly and I thought the second did as well. I left the exam confident in my answers and was about to leave the building when I overheard a few students going over the questions with each other. To my horror, I found out I went on for four pages about something completely different than the topic. I was devastated.

What did I take from this? You can prepare all you want, but there is always a possibility for something to go wrong. Don’t make yourself self-destruct over an exam. It’s three hours of your life that shouldn’t mentally stay with you for four years.

When studying for exams, take frequent breaks. Maybe go through your notes once, walk away from them for a while and then go back. Rinse and repeat. You sometimes get sick of reading notes constantly, so you start to dismiss the information and don’t retain much.

Exam time can be stressful, but once they’re over, they can’t hurt you anymore. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

The same can be said for your study environment. For the love of God do not watch shows when you’re studying. Nothing would be more embarrassing than accidentally writing an angst-y monologue from Riverdale in your exam booklet. I like to listen to music when I study, mostly Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and some instrumental from the RWBY soundtrack. I can’t listen to music with lyrics, but I’ve known people who prefer it. However, if the lyrics are overlapping with your ability to study the words in front of you I would suggest only instrumentals.

When writing an exam don’t look at the clock. This psyches so many people out it’s crazy. Take your time and answer the questions to the best of your ability, do not rush things. The exam is not a race to see who can come up with the information quicker. You aren’t up against anyone and if you leave before some people it doesn’t mean you knew more.

Make sure you have two pens: black and blue. Some professors prefer blue while others prefer black. Read every question carefully because sometimes you’ll only answer half the question and not realize it. Most importantly, give yourself a break. When the exams are over, they are over, no more, they’re gone, they can’t hurt you anymore, rejoice.

Have a safe exam week, I hope you survive.