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We have 3 days gaps during exams. It takes me about two days to get tuned into a subject, i.e ., to get into the state of flow. I get tuned to studying around the middle of the second day. Is there anything that I can do to get tuned in faster? I think that would greatly help me increase my GPA score.

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Considering that your exams are either written/laboratory experiments, I can suggest few pointers:

  1. Get proper sleep and eat healthy during such particularly high-stress periods (lot of caffeine is not probably the best way, but drinking water helps!),
  2. Get a proper break after you are done with one exam, it is important to send a signal to your brain to rejuvenate before you dive into a different topic. You might want to take a nap, go for a walk alone or do something similar to reset,
  3. Keep to your normal schedule, this helps your brain to manoeuvre the daily tasks without much added effort,
  4. See these 2 days for what they are - a revision opportunity and not essentially to learn something new. To focus on deep learning rather than surface learning, before the start of the exams, keep a set of notes finalized that you can skim through and know which topics you need to focus especially during this 2-day revision. You can choose to tackle the harder ones first and then revise the smaller chapters since that would be more assuring.
  5. Try to have fun on the exams - see them as learning opportunities rather than something that you are fighting for. Our brains relish experiences that are more 'fun' and dreads the situations where they do into 'fight-or-flight' mode. Hope this helps!
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    I'd add a "don't" to your excellent list of "do's": don't go into a panic mode trying to think of things you could fail on (similar to #4 but more specific). Having confidence in things you do know helps navigate the surroundings; conversely, constant self-doubt makes one fail on things they are actually perfectly capable of acing.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 17:25
  • I have completed studying everything already, all I need to do during exams is revision tbh. But I don't get tuned to do that as well.
    – puajeh
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 3:36
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    @puajeh sounds like 2,3,5 above are the ones that can benefit you. There is no one way to get into tunnel vision for exams - take time to yourself and find out what works for you. Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 7:16
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I agree in full with the answer of Wandering_Alice but have another suggestion, though it may be too late to implement for the current cycle.

If you study, and prepare, and take proper notes throughout a course, the exam prep can be very simple, but it requires discipline.

First, is to take good notes. I strongly suggest that you do this with pencil/pen and paper, not electronically. Writing engages the brain in a way that typing does not. A court stenographer can capture very word, but without actually understanding or remembering any of it, though they use a shorthand (machine) to capture it. The notes in your computer is a different thing than the ideas in your brain.

The next thing is to capture for each lecture, the two or three most important ideas of that lecture. Perhaps you do this as you go along, or perhaps you immediately write them out at the end of the lecture and before you have a chance to do other things (and forget).

I gave a long answer to a different question at CSEducators and discussed a simple thing called a Hipster PDA. This is a good technique for capturing the essence of a course.

The advantage is that you can carry a small deck of index cards with you wherever you go and can review important points at any time. In particular, the deck for a course serves as a very fast review that you can use as the basis for exam prep. If you have reviewed periodically, and updated the deck, inserting (and maybe discarding), and re-sorting the cards, exams prep can be fairly painless. Note again, that paper works, but electronic capture is less flexible and less engaging. To learn, you need to change the brain.


Using the Hipster PDA

Write only one idea per card. Write on one side only. Use different colors for different things, perhaps. The backs can be used for annotations later.

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  • I actually have finished studying everything. I just need to revise during these 3 days to get good marks. But I get tuned up slowly.
    – puajeh
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 3:37
  • I got it. Basically what you are saying is to have summary of each chapter ready so that you can do a fast review of it. This definitely helps me a lot.
    – puajeh
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 4:09

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