1) PLAY WITH THE HAND YOU'VE BEEN DEALT
At first, I complained about my terrible schedule at every opportunity I got, but I quickly realized how counterproductive my behavior was. The time and energy I was exerting in telling people how bad my schedule looked was essentially time I could have spent studying. To make matters worse, my plea for sympathy was in no shape or form going to change the timing of my exams. So, instead of worrying about things you can't control, a much better approach is to adopt a positive attitude and take ownership of your own fate. If you sit around waiting for all the pieces to fall perfectly into place, you're going to be waiting forever. Regardless of the situation you've been placed in, it's ultimately in your control to decide the final outcome – so try your best to make it the ideal one.
(Click here if you want to read more about taking ownership of your life and having the right attitude.)
2) YOUR GRADES DON'T DEFINE YOUR POTENTIAL
Marks aren't everything. Having completed the first two years of my program, I've seen numerous of my peers constantly stress over their GPA. If that sounds like something you do, you need to understand that your marks aren't an indication of your academic potential or how smart you are. People constantly judge others' capabilities on the grades they earn – I unfortunately do this too – but in reality, ending up with a B in a course isn't going to dictate your career success or what you can accomplish in life. There are so many variables that can affect a mark that it's arguable to say that they may be even be useless. Some examples can be a bad exam schedule, work commitments, extracurricular involvement, family issues, professor, class environment, course content, and many more!
To those who are thinking, “I need good grades to get a job,” my answer to you is that, assuming you have good extracurricular involvements to make up for your lack of a spectacular GPA, all you need is a B+ average to get a full-time job in accounting, consulting, or investment banking. With that said, don't harm your health and stress about how well you're going to do. Something that has worked for me is having a mindset where if I try my best and give my 100%, I know everything will work out it in the end – and this has never failed me. (Also, by this I don’t mean that you can study for two hours before your exam, tell yourself you tried your best and expect everything to work out – be honest with yourself and you'll achieve your goals.)
3) ESTABLISH A SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Throughout this exam period, I relied on the help of one of my close friends countless times. Whether you have a question you don't understand, or you simply need a self-esteem boost, having someone you can always rely on can be a crucial factor to your success. I strongly recommend having a study buddy because it's likely that there are some concepts you don't understand which your partner can explain to you, and you can do the same for them in return. It's a win-win situation where you both can motivate each other and make studying a little more bearable. To add a cherry on top, those dreaded all-nighters may serve as an opportunity to strengthen your friendship and perhaps make a friend to last a lifetime.
(Check out this link to see who would be the best study buddy for you.)
For those of you who are in the midst of finishing up your exams, I hope these tips can help you throughout this stressful time. Best of luck on your remaining exams!
What lessons have you learned from your exam experiences?
What I’ve shared above is my experience from a busy exam period but I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Feel free to give an example of what you’ve done and share your lessons in the comments below!
This blog post has been written by Salman Ahmad, a 2nd year student at the Schulich School of Business. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/salmanahmad1) or Twitter (http://www.linkedin.com/in/salmanahmad1)