Starting to feel the stress of upcoming exams? Take a deep breath, slow down and check out our top tips for nailing your preparation.
1. Stick to your strengths
Everyone has a style that works best for them when it comes to studying. Take the time to find what works for you (not just what worked for your best friend or your mum). Are you:
A Creative Thinker?
Buy new pens, notebooks, post-its and highlighters (or dig them out from under your bed). Remember, this doesn’t have to be boring! Create colourful notes, mind maps, or draw if that works for you.
Have you tried writing quotes or key notes on post-its and sticking them around your house? For example, stick one on the bathroom mirror – every time you brush your teeth you can read it. What else would you be doing in those two minutes!
A Traditional Learner?
If you know that completing past papers, reading and re-writing your notes works for you, then prioritise that study style. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t try new techniques!
Have you tried recording your notes on your phone and listening to them when you would normally listen to music? Pop them on when you are on the bus to work or walking to the shops, it will all sink in.
2. Location, Location, Location
Not everyone likes to study in a quiet environment. Take the time to figure out what works best for you, whether this is a quiet space in your house or in a noisy café in town.
If your school offers revision classes during exam leave, jump at the chance to have some extra time with your teacher to ask questions.
3. Be prepared
Take time at the start to plan. Exam dates are available online or you can check in with your school or college. Take note of these and create a plan working backwards from your exams. This works well as you can block out the time where you know you can’t study (e.g. football on a Tuesday at 6pm).
You might want to split your units by one each day or focus in on the units you feel less confident about. Hopefully, tackling it bit by bit will be less overwhelming. Try not to focus on one sole subject each week, mix it up a bit, and schedule breaks every hour or so.
4. Schedule some ‘me’ time
It’s easy to become consumed in your study plan, but it’s also important that you take time out to do the things you enjoy. Set yourself daily goals and reward yourself when you have achieved them. Whether that reward is going to the gym, reading a book or watching a film, having something to look forward to will motivate you and make you more productive when you study.
When it comes to sleep, getting at least 7-9 hours each night will help keep stress levels down and improve your memory. For a good quality sleep, put down that phone, tablet or laptop and give yourself time to unwind before bedtime.
5. Keep calm – you’ve got this!
On the day of your exam, there are a few things you can do which will reduce your nerves and help you to get those grades. You don’t want to arrive at your exam feeling rushed so make sure you plan your journey and make allowances for any unexpected traffic. Hunger is a distraction that you don’t need, so even if you’re not usually a breakfast person, eating a hearty breakfast will keep you feeling energised and full. We also recommend that you bring water to stay hydrated.
As a final tip, don’t discuss your answers with your friends after the exam, you’ve done everything you can do and you should believe in yourself!