Exam season is coming up, as students at secondary school and university prepare to for endless exams, stretching weeks over the summer period, having revised for months on end. There’s no easy way to prepare for exams, and whilst some thrive on last minute preparation and love cramming months of work into a few days of stress; it may not be the same for everyone. If you’re not the kind of person who enjoys the strain and anxiety of last minute revision, there are some really simple and easy tricks to mentally prepare for exam season, without feeling like your world is collapsing beneath your feet.
Don’t surround yourself by negativity
When revising for your exams, no matter how many papers you have to sit, if you surround yourself with people who do not cope well with stress, or make you feel panicked with a realisation of how close you are to sitting those exams – step away from it all. If you find working at home difficult as everyone around you is asking how you’re doing with revision, perhaps it’s worth leaving the house and visiting your local library, study room, or even a coffee shop, to plug your headphones in and get cracking with work.
Don’t underestimate how much time you have to study
Exam season for many officially starts in June, but with the excitement of summer approaching, it can be easy to leave revision to the last minute, having enjoyed your weekends in the sun. When revising for your exams, do not underestimate how long you have to prepare, as even a month can seem like plenty of time, when actually in reality it is a tight squeeze to revise everything. Set out a timetable for your studies – delegate time for every subject and module, prioritising the exams you perhaps find the hardest to study for. Once you organise your time over a period of a few months, you will find it a lot easier to navigate preparation and feel at ease when exam season draws nearer.
Take regular breaks and give yourself free time
It may sound like a no-brainer to take regular breaks to give your brain a rest, and to exercise a little away from your desk and computer, but the majority of students fail to do so. Countless research has proven that in order to retain your knowledge, regular breaks is a must-have! Everyone is different, and you may find that going for a brisk walk, making a cup of tea, or speaking to someone on the phone not about your exams; may prove a success. After all, you don’t want to feel guilty every time you take a break, because without it, your studying may become counter productive.
It’s all about the food you eat
Research has shown that pigging out on fatty and carb fuelled foods, reduces your concentration and energy to perform well. Sugary foods and drinks do not give you the fuel you need to study for countless hours during exam season, and if anything it can make you feel extremely tired, and prevent you from sleeping well. It can feel very easy to think you need a treat or two during the day, to add a little excitement to your day, but your brain doesn’t want it nor need it! You need brain food – snacks that gives your brain the power to run, such as fish, seeds, blueberries and yoghurt which are known to aid concentration and help with memory. And don’t forget on the day of your exam, to eat a meal that has a slow release of energy, so try perhaps a banana, porridge with fruit and eggs.
Replace caffeine for water
Reaching for a morning coffee is part of a routine many have become accustomed to, and we all seem to think without a coffee, we feel all jittery and can’t begin the day. But, caffeine is actually not the best thing to have when you need to concentrate heavily. Caffeine can cause dehydration, if you’re not drinking enough water, and it can cause headaches, which of course is not ideal when you’re trying to work. So instead of drinking too many cups of coffee or tea, limit yourself to one a day, and if you feel like you need a hot drink, stick to herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee. And don’t forget – water is everything!
Good luck in all your exams!