Surviving Exams

The First Exam

The days leading up to the first exam of graduate school will cause a lot more stress than the actual exam itself (hopefully).  For myself, especially, I was worried that the exam formatting would mimic the way most of the San Diego State’s Biology department formatted their exams: impossible and reflecting 0% of what we actually covered in lecture.   During the time period prior to the first exam is when I first discovered my anxiety-driven insomnia.  I found a few strategies to cope with this, one of them being reviewing flash cards in bed until I fell asleep (probably not the healthiest but it works).  However, what really helped the most was what I realized post first midterm:

Graduate school is different than undergraduate studies in many ways; one of the most important being that there is a significant increase in the amount of information you are expected to know and apply.  However, your graduate professor’s main job is to ensure you are successful throughout their program, and unlike most undergraduate professors, THEY ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT YOU.  In my first semester, I’ve found that 98% of the time you are tested in an extremely fair manner on the material that you are expected to know and apply.  Long story short, if you put in the work to learn the lecture material, understand it, and can apply it, you WILL excel on every exam.  Meditation and exercise was able to help my insomnia quite a bit, but it wasn’t until after I had this pivotal revelation that it was able to fully subside.





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