So exam time is around the corner, and you may be feeling stressed. This time of year can be tough when you're revising for exams. Stay calm and find a revision style that works for you. We’ve outlined a few tips that can help you revise and advice on how to cope with exam stress:
CREATE A TIMETABLE
Give yourself enough time to study- don’t leave it until the last minute! It can be easily done but avoid this at all costs. Once you have your exam timetable, set out a separate study timetable with the days of your exams and pencil down your revision sessions. Be realistic and make sure that you give yourself time for other commitments and relaxation too.
THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Set yourself a study area- make sure you have enough space to spread your notes and textbooks out. This area should be comfortable and away from any distractions like noise, people, TV, games consoles and of course your smartphone! Unless you’re using it for revision notes, it’s best to avoid being distracted by social media. Everyone has different study styles- think about what is best for you and what you prefer.
TAKE A BREAK
Take regular breaks- you may think you have to study for hours on end, but this, in fact, can be counterproductive. It’s hard to absorb too much of anything. Studies have also shown that taking regular breaks really helps. Research shows that short 20-30 minute revision sessions work best as your concentration is much higher. The ‘Pomodoro Technique’ is a great time management strategy. Find out how it works in this short video here.
TIME OF DAY
Remember, we are all different so find a routine that works for you. If you’re more productive in the morning then take a break at lunch, and if you study better in the evening revise later in the day. Also, it’s important to be well rested before your exams so a minimum of 6 hours sleep is crucial.
BRAIN FOOD & HYDRATION
Snack on brain food - keep away from junk food! It may seem like a quick fix to reach out for that chocolate bar but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus. Sugar may seem tempting, although it won't help when your energy levels crash an hour or so later. Keep your brain fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as; fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, eggs, and blueberries. Drink plenty of water throughout your revision sessions and exams. Keeping hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best.
Use flow charts and diagrams as visual aids; colours can be helpful when revising. Using images, shapes, flow charts and testing yourself can all help with memory. Condense your revision notes to bitesize bullet points on small revision cards. This can help you quickly recall everything when it comes to sitting your exam.
PRACTICE WITH YOUR PEERS
Ask your teacher for past exam papers. Practising on old papers will help you get used to the format of the questions and allow you to time yourself on each question. You could do this as part of a group – arrange revision sessions with a group of friends studying the same subject as you and quiz each other. Working in a small group can be good for testing memory.
FAIL TO PLAN – PLAN TO FAIL
As cliché as it sounds; it’s true. Plan your exam day and prepare everything you need for the exam well in advance e.g. stationary. Make sure you’re also aware of any rules and requirements. Plan your journey so you’re not late, instead, make sure you're there early and are well prepared.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
Finally, be confident- what you put in you get out. Lastly, we've added a couple of extra hints and tips on how to deal with exam stress:
It’s easier said than done but try not to stress as this will result in more anxiety. Take the time to read the question properly as there may be some clues in the question that can help your answer. Take deep breaths and use all your exam time, e.g. use any spare time you have left over to check your answers. You will feel so much better knowing that you’ve done all you can and tried your hardest! We will be sharing lots of more tips soon, so make sure you check back here to help you ace your exams!