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Exam Prep for the Visual Learner


I have 2 weekend, 3 weeks and 3 blue Post-Its until my first exam. Yes- 3 blue Post-Its. See:


My first exam is the first blue blue Post-It in the third row, and there are three blue Post-Its before it. The green Post-Its are the weekends I have to study (far right), and the yellow ones are days where I don’t currently have any event scheduled that will require my mental or physical energy. (I apologize for the blurriness. Walls are surprisingly difficult to photograph!)

Why all the Post-Its? Because I woke up on Saturday morning in a cold sweat, panicked about everything I knew I had to do, but was completely unable to conceptualize how much time I had to do it all. Everything was written down, but I couldn’t turn the words on the paper in my day-timer into anything that made events clear in my mind. It’s my very last exam set of high school (I’m graduating afterwards!) and I’ve been feeling/putting a lot of pressure on myself to go out with a bang. But I wasn’t anticipating the high blood pressure that my personal expectations would bring. So I took 10 deep breaths and tried to figure out how to get organized so I can maximize my productivity in preparation for my exams.

When it comes to my world, I like three things:

  • lists
  • colour
  • Post-It notes
  • and Tina Fey

Okay, so that 4 things, but lets pretend it’s 3. So, I combined all of these things and made a Post-It calendar. Actually, it’s not a full calendar of the month, but I leave on June 26 for a 6 week vacation travelling the other side of the planet, so I didn’t bother with the rest of the days. The day my plane takes off is the last thing I’ve written:



I like this idea because I can see at a glance when everything is, as opposed to flipping through pages. I do have a month-at-a-glace page in my planner, but it had gotten messy with “maybe-happenings” and “not-sures.”  I applied the GTD principle of only putting in concrete events. For each of the days I have an exam, I also wrote the time and place so I won’t forget. It helps to keep this from becoming another ambiguous list of things that may-or-may not occur so you then have to spend more energy sorting it in your mind. Whew, that last sentence was a mouthful!

This calendar is on the wall beside my computer, where I notice it every time I look up. So when I’ve been spending too much time on Facebook, out of the corner of my eye, I notice everything I have to do, and I log off :


This calendar is easy to replicate for yourself, using any colour combination you wish.

And also, since I’m using this to track school work, I put in fun events too, so I don’t forget that life isn’t a 24/7 study session. Like the day of my tattoo appointment:


It’s something to look forward to.

So tell me, what’s your strategy for conquering the mental clutter that exams bring?

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30 Responses to “Exam Prep for the Visual Learner”

  1. I almost had all my high school exams now, the last one will be tomorrow!

    I conquered the mental clutter by writing all the exams down in a timeline. That gave me some overview on when and how many free time before it. And I must say it worked out pretty good! I like the calendarwithpost-its like you did, but I like a line more. A post-it line would be the best, because you can get them off your wall and throw them away!

    Great post, thanks.


  2. We all have our system. I use a simple note paid and write tomorrow’s todo’s before I leave the night before. Works like a charm for me.

  3. Student says:

    I just use a planner, but this gives a much better overview.

  4. used tires says:

    That’s pretty intense Post it’s you got going on there for your schedule, I’ve seen alot of posts it at the university, but I have never seen anyone use it like this as a form of a calendar style hehe =D I think it’s actually pretty neat!

    My strategy is, I usually keep track of things on notepad on my computer, I know not very good… lol, but at least it keeps my mind going and remind myself even more not to forget about what is due.

    Till then,


  5. This is just a brilliant idea I wish I had come up with this when I was in school would have come in so handy and maybe I could still use it in my daily working.

  6. Yeah this sure beats trying to fit in all your notes on a calendar, especially with your changing schedule. I’m the same way Jean is, just good old Notepad. Although for important times like near exams it would help to have something to remind you constantly.

  7. Katherine says:

    I use a similar system on my google calendar. It REALLY helps when I need to be able to visually see when I am going to be able to get all of my work done for the week. One thing I found particularly useful was actually being able to schedule my study times and what I planned on studying during those specific blocks of time.

  8. gas card says:

    That’s a nice and clever idea using the post it note calendar, especially if its right by the computer… where distractions are evident. My strategy for exams… er I don’t think I have one.. I think I always try to study in advance.. but end up doing some serious cramming…

  9. Yes, I have found that this method is very useful as well. Since I can see it all the time, I am “forced” to take action.

    I use post-it notes additionally to my digital planner..:-)

  10. Very creative idea. Even though planners work best for me, I do like the visual effect. How was the flight to England?

  11. The post it note calender is an awesome idea. Time management is difficult at the best of times, but when there is exam pressure it really complicates matters.

    Great going there, all the best of luck with your exams, I know you will be successful!

  12. I have just come across your blog, and found this to be a great concept, I was just thinking why didn’t they have something like this back in the day, when I was studying this would have been fantastic, for time management, because back then I was really hopeless at that.

  13. It seems you’ve planned everything right down to the last detail. When you’re dealing with exams, its definitely a good idea not to procrastinate.

  14. There is nothing better than being prepared for studying, and not wasting time doing so, it takes the pressure off one so that one can be focused.

    Time management also comes into play here, with these post its one can not go wrong. :)

  15. justin tv says:

    Thank you It seems you’ve planned everything right down to the last detail. When you’re dealing with exams, its definitely a good idea not to procrastinate

  16. I am a visual learner. Especially tap. I find myself starring down at my teachers feet anytime we learn a step. I even find myself looking down in the mirrors when i dance. I always look down at her feet and I always have to be right to the right of her just a bit.

  17. I am exactly the same as you. When i am in tap i have to just watch my instuctors feet and play the motions over in my head an then dance.

  18. It’s fantastic idea. I like this idea and i will try this idea for my exam preparation. Thanks.

  19. Kolorowanki says:

    Actualy that’s a pretty awesome idea for a callendar! I’ll have to try it out, this way you can just throw away all the past “days”.

  20. Interesting, I have not tried nor heard of this post-it method before. It definitely seems effective, great job implementing it. Generally I use a combination of spreadsheets and a day planner which I hand write on. I don’t use my mobile as I find I am just way too slow to text well!

  21. Generic says:

    Indeed.. what a very nice and clever idea using the post it note calendar, especially if its right by the computer… where distractions are evident.

  22. I would definitely say I am a “Visual Learner” So this is perfect for me. Thank you.

  23. ATV Auctions says:

    The post-it calendar is a great idea. This is like a regular calendar on steroids. You can easily change things and highlight accordingly. I wish I had thought of this back when I was in college.

  24. I know what you mean by visual learner graphics :) . I can’t stand boring lectures sometimes.

  25. Buy Generic says:

    The post-it calendar is a great idea. This is like a regular calendar on steroids. You can easily change things and highlight accordingly. I wish I had thought of this back when I was in college.

  26. Briefcases says:

    I can’t believe you listed Tina Fey in the top 3 things you like. She helped contribute to the downfall of SNL. Before she was on the show, it was actually pretty funny most weeks. Then it went downhill.

  27. ATV Auctions says:

    If I was still in college I would copy this organization technique too. Since I am out of school, I have a lot less to worry about. So I can fit all my plans on a regular calendar.

  28. It’s really good way of exam date remind with notes and calendar. I like your idea.

  29. Sara says:

    it is very important to use planners, it is work for me also too.

  30. Ubieranki says:

    What a great idea! I definitely must try this! I’m soo unogranized

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