With exams quickly approaching, it’s time to take a deep breath and tackle these bad boys head-on. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or heading into your first-ever exam season at Queen’s, here are my top tips and habits to help you study and survive finals —just in time to chow down on a holiday dinner. 

10 Tips for Staying Organized and Efficient 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Make sure you don’t overcommit to a number of different things —remember, exam period is stressful, so allow yourself the time to focus on school for a few weeks. 

Eliminate distractions 

Turn your phone to Do Not Disturb and disable notifications on your laptop! Eliminate all distractions if possible. This tip isn’t just about your electronics, try to make sure that there aren’t any distracting noises, visuals, or events around you.

Make a calendar 

Get organized by setting times and dates in your calendar for when you want to have specific things done and hold yourself to the deadlines.

Music Selection

If you’re someone who gets easily distracted, listen to classical music while you study (or music without words) because lyrics can be distracting at times.


Before or after studying! Exercising can be a great way to start your day and get rid of any distractions. On the contrary, it can also be a great stress reliever, so it could be beneficial to do after your study. 

Make sure to get lots of sleep

C’mon, I’m just asking that you get 8 hours every night.

Don’t overwork or over-learn

Try not to crunch a lot of material into a short period of time. It’s essential to take breaks and not overwork yourself, so remember to approach your work in manageable quantities.

Don’t multitask

Focus on one thing at a time, in order to get the most from your studying.

Take breaks

Don’t force yourself to study for 12 hours straight. Break things up by taking some well-deserved breaks.

5 Different Ways to Study


You can buy pre-made flashcards or make your own! This is a great way to test your memory.

Talk Out Loud 

Talk to yourself, or, if you think that’s weird, ask a friend to sit down and let you talk them through everything.


Try hand-writing your notes! You can double-down by hand-writing your notes and then reviewing the finished product with a highlighter and pen to add any extra information.

Practice Exams

Use the Queen’s Exam Bank to your advantage by reviewing past exams for key concepts from the course and clues about the structure. As well, you can use one of the exams as a practice for the real thing. Sit down and commit to writing the full practice exam from start to finish.

The Study Buddy

A study buddy can take a wide variety of forms: reviewing with a classmate taking the same exam, having a housemate quiz you on the subject matter, or sitting down with someone familiar with the material and asking them questions.

Header Image Source: Katherine Lidtke
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