It’s been nearly four years since I last sat an exam -jeez that makes me feel old- but I can still remember the pre-exam jitters and preparation as if it was yesterday. It’s definitely a testing time for young people, a time of pressure and big decisions and while I am someone that romanticises my own childhood and would go back in a flash (hurry with that time machine Stephen), this is one period of my life that I would happily forget.
So as someone that has over five years of exam experience and someone that came out with ok-ish results, I thought that I would offer some of my top tips on how to survive.
Prepare // There is no point even thinking about revising if you have nothing to revise in the first place, so having detailed and comprehensive notes is key! Check your notes in the weeks and months leading to the exam and make sure they are readable and that you have every sub-section covered. If need be ask teachers or friends to help you ensure that your notes are up to standard.
Get together // When it comes to concentration I’m really bad, I procrastinate, try to do three things and once and find I very rarely finish anything. This is something that has plagued me since a young age. I have to admit that I have gotten better as of late, I find that lists in particular really help my focus, but when I was younger this was something that I hadn’t yet learned. One thing that did work for me was the organisation of joint study groups because when we all got together my concentration was vastly improved. Study groups are amazing for eliminating procrastination because it motivates, engages and focusses your attention on the subject at hand. It’s also the perfect opportunity to eliminate any queries you might have had because if you have a question then the chances are that someone else has the answer!
Organise // Creating a revision schedule is an amazing way to kick start your revision agenda because knowing what you’re meant to be doing and when will make the world of difference. I’m someone that really loves structure in every aspect of my life and still to this day I love creating schedules and organised lists, it helps you focus, stay focussed and get things done!
You are what you eat // Have you ever noticed that eating something greasy or fatty leaves you feeling a bit ugh and as a result your productivity levels are low. It’s the same with a sugary breakfast cereal because come 12PM, you’ll be wanting another fix. Instead look for healthy, protein filled options like poached eggs on brown bread, to ensure that you feel at your best when it’s time to sit the test. William Shakespeare had nothing on my poetry skills!
Balance // During exam season it’s easy to become completely consumed with the stress and to even forget that the outside world exists, but guess what, it does. Try to schedule a few other things to do during the day and take some time to enjoy things, watch a film, go of a run or go dancing with friends. Use it as a motivate yourself, the more work you do the more fun you can have and providing you use your time wisely, there is no reason for your life to stop!
What are your top exam tips?