How to improve at test preparation and relaxation

Juicy asks: How do I concentrate in my studies? When I get lots of work to do, like when I have two tests on the same day? And then how can I relax on weekends, when I’m so stressed?

Hi Juicy –


Everything you’re talking about really comes down to one thing – staying centered.  To concentrate on your studies, especially when schools pile on the work and tests, and yet be able to de-stress, is a great skill that can improve one’s life immeasurably.  I’ve heard that one reason Julius Caesar was able to do so well in his battles was that he had the ability to completely relax and take very short intense naps, so that when his opponents’ generals were sleeping through the night, he’d be able to wake up after an hour or two and plan the next day’s strategy.  Now I’m not suggesting you try to get by on two hours’ sleep a night, but it’s a pretty cool ability, isn’t it!


I’ve written at other places on AskShirelle about relaxation methods like meditation, breathing, yoga, and such.  All those are great.  But those are long-term strategies.  When you’re facing those tests right away, they’ll help, but you need more.  A few things to try are:


1)    Decide for yourself what you want from the tests.  It’s very common for us to get very unfocused in tests because we really don’t care much about the subject.  Is there something you want to understand in the classes?  And if not, can you just focus on what you’ll get by doing well on the tests?  I see how kids can get absolutely lost in video games, obsessed with trying to move from one level to the next; can you make this test the same thing, where you get obsessed with memorizing everything you need to know for it?!

2)    Break the subjects down into bits.  It’s impossible to pick up a textbook and learn everything in it.  But if you go through it and make lists of what you need to know, then maybe you can concentrate enough to memorize each list; then after each one, you can give yourself a reward (maybe even a few minutes of playing that video game!).

3)    Find ways to make the memorization fun!  For example, let’s say you have to memorize the list Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes, Orange Juice, Toast, and Jam.  Well, it’ll help you to remember them if you just take the first letters of them:  E, B, P, O, T, and J.  So I could take those letters and make the words JEB POT, or I could make a sentence like “Juicy’s Prettier Than Beyonce Or Eminem!”  Do that with all the stuff on the tests and you’ll have no problem concentrating.  And it’s even more fun if you bring some friends over and come up with them together.


And the better you do with your test preparation, the easier it’ll be to relax on the weekends.  Most stress comes from worrying about things you don’t feel in control of; when you feel in control of your schoolwork, it’ll free you to worry about… well… other things.  You know: friends, family, popularity, etc. etc. etc.!


Good Luck!





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