Nervous about the upcoming exams?
Everyone gets a little freaked out around exam time, it is completely normal.
Although it’s not easy to stop feeling stressed you can follow a few simple steps to beat the stress and stay calm during exam time.
- ORGANISE YOUR STUDY SPACE
Make sure you have enough space to spread out your textbooks and notes. Do you have enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people, this may mean almost complete silence, for others music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.
- REVISION & PAST PAPERS.
Make sure your schedule provides for enough revision time each week. Revisions are more important than the first-time study. One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.
- STUDY AIDS
While taking notes, use as many diagrams, graphs, figures and illustrations as possible.This helps to make several revisions at the last moment!
- STUDY BUDDY
Find a “study buddy”, having someone to go through the work and bounce ideas off is another way to make studies a bit easier. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.
- SCHEDULE YOUR STUDY TIME
While you may think it’s best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t try and run 24 hours a day. Likewise, studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks in studying really helps.Everyone’s different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you’re more productive at nighttime, take a larger break earlier on so you’re ready to settle down come evening.Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain.
It’s way more stressful to memorize lots of information or understand complicated concepts on less than 6 hours sleep. You may not think this now, but sleep will be your best friend throughout exam time. A good night’s sleep or power nap can help boost your brain and memory functions, and refresh your system.
Exercise is brilliant for reducing stress. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and feel-good hormones. It improves blood-flow to the brain, helping you to think more clearly. Playing any kind of sport, jogging or even going for a walk are fantastic ways to release stress.
Eat healthy food, since it’s often easier to function on nutritious food than junk. While sugar might be a quick source of energy, sugar lows happen pretty fast and the let-down can often be severe.
- EXAM DAY
Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam – don’t leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don’t know the time of the exam, or what you’re supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time.
Keep reminding yourself that your hard work will not go to waste.
On the day of the exam, feel happy! Think positive and keep cool!