Three Things for the Next Three Weeks
The end is in sight. Christmas break seems to be so close, yet so far away. For some of us that means we are desperately awaiting the last of exams so that we can say we at least survived. For others, these last few weeks may have flown by and you ask yourself the question, “Where has the time gone?” And there are probably a few people who are eagerly awaiting the examination period for other reasons.
Regardless of our outlooks on the upcoming weeks, we all have the same hurdle to jump: exams. With a strategic approach and a little bit of luck I am sure that we can all make it through the exam period successfully. The key to being successful quite conveniently can be summarized by one verb: know. In order to make it through exams all you really need to do is to know yourself, know what time it is and continue to know God. Let me explain.
If you have taken PSY 121, you will have probably learned about different styles of learning. Well you don’t even need to have taken this course to know that. To one extent or another I am sure that we have all heard about how some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some people learn via hands-on work. It is that simple and that practical. Know yourself. Understand how you learn best and adjust your studying methods accordingly. Find out what works for you and do it. If all you have to do is read over stuff then read. If you are an auditory learner, record yourself reading your notes and listen to them, or listen to an e-book. If you are a hands-on learner, rewrite your notes — and make sure you have enough paper.
Secondly, know what time it is. Time management is probably the most difficult task of exam weeks. Your schedule is wide open. You seem liberated and free with all this extra time and then BAM – next thing you know your exam is tomorrow and you are stuck cramming. Do not be snared by the trap of time. Treat exam weeks like any other week. Stick to your regular schedule (or establish a regular schedule). Use your would-be class times for studying. Discipline yourself to study well in advance for your exams. Study lots, study long and study hard. But also remember: take a 10-15 minute break every hour/hour-and-a-half. This seems silly but the stats don’t lie. This will help with your memory retention. So set a schedule and set a timer — know the time.
Lastly, know God. I have heard it time and time again how the first thing to go when schedules change is a person’s devotional time to God. But I implore you to “take care lest you forget your God by not keeping his commandments.” (Deut. 8:11) As I wrote back in September’s issue, being a student is one of our main callings here at Redeemer. Exam time is a time to honour God with dedication and devotion. In this intellectually and emotionally trying time you may get worn down. The pressures of life do not cease around exams — if anything they increase.
Remember: God is your pillar, your refuge and your strength. Do not forget Yahweh in these weeks to come. Stay faithful to Him and do not forget all that God has done for you in the past. That does not mean it will be easy, for “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters” (Ps. 77:19). He will sustain us. His love endures forever and the “LORD will keep your going out and coming from this time forth and forevermore” (Ps. 121:8). The LORD is faithful. Do not forget to trust in Him through these times because we can bring ALL things before God with prayer and we know that God will hear the pleas of his faithful servants.
So go forth and know. Know your learning styles, know your schedule and most importantly, know the faithfulness and fortitude of Jehovah-Jireh. May these things help you for exam preparations and may you be able to come out successful, sustained and a servant.