Keep Your Cool: 10 tips to get you through the exams
Wave away the dark clouds of exam anxiety with these simple tips...
Published 20/05/2014 | 13:46
The arrival of summer should be a delightful time but for those facing important exams it can be hard to see through the dark clouds of dread.
Nobody enjoys those long days shackled to the library desk or the anxiety that accompanies the weeks leading up to exams but late night cramming and a diet of bad canteen coffee will never combine to produce those much sought after As.
Making the time to organise yourself and your life in the valuable time before exams makes all the difference to your mindset when entering that scary exam hall. Fueling your library time with clean hearty foods, making sure to get that much needed kip and keeping order in your life will all contribute more to your results than you think.
Unfortunately for most of us, tough exams are a rite of passage into the real world but these ten tips will help you sit the tests with as much positivity and preparation as possible.
Time is of the essence
It may seem obvious, but don’t leave all of your study until the last minute. So many of us fall victim to this faux pas but it is a sure way to increase anxiety and become completely overwhelmed. Make a schedule a few weeks before your exams and ensure that you have sufficient time to cover all topics to the best you can.
You are what you eat
Tummy rumblings in the library often call for bars of chocolate but it is imperative to stay away from junk food. Keep your body and mind re-fueled with nutritious foods that have been proven to help concentration such as fish, eggs, seeds, yoghurt, fruit and vegetables. On exam day, eat a good meal before the test, with foods that provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but it won’t help when your energy levels crash half way through an exam.
Don’t feel obliged to sit in front of a book with a highlighter; there are many different ways to study. While some of us draw colourful mind maps as a form of procrastination, they can in fact help you memorise facts. Colourful notes are easier to memorise than plain black and white ones.
Tidy room is a tidy mind
Find a quiet and tidy place to revise where you won’t be interrupted for a few hours. Whether it’s your kitchen table, bedroom, or study desk, make sure it’s neat and organised before you begin. Don’t try to study in bed; study can quickly turn into napping!
Practice makes perfect
Ask your teacher for some past papers or Google them yourself. Most exam boards put a lot of emphasis on exam technique, so familiarising yourself with it before the exam can often save you time and help earn marks.
We spend approximately a third of our life sleeping and sleep is never more important than during exam time. Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation – this is when the brain backs up short-term patterns and creates long-term memories. Aim to get at least 8 hours sleep a night.
Take regular breaks
If you were training for a marathon you wouldn’t run for 24 hours a day. Our minds need an occasional rest in order to stay alert and productive. Develop a study routine that works well for you and stick to it.
Organise study groups
Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that need answered and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic this can be one of the most effective ways to study.
Physical activity is very important, especially during intense study time. Even going for a 30 minute jog after a day of revision will make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Physical activity increases heart rate which makes blood circulate faster. This in turn ensures that brain gets more oxygen which increases productivity while reducing tiredness and stress.
Quizzing yourself can be one of the best ways to prepare for the real test. Don’t worry if you can’t remember. The harder it is to remember a piece of information in practice mode, the more likely you will be to remember it in the future.