IN THE LEAD UP TO THE EXAMS …
1. Be as prepared as possible (snore, I know, but annoyingly true)
Revise topics you are unsure of because the more prepared you are, the less you have to feel nervous about and the easier your life will be! Also make sure to be proud of how hard you are working at revising (don’t try and cram it all in the night before the exam!)
2. Take time to relax too.
Don’t over load your brain. I know the fact that exams are round the corner might make you feel like you should be thinking about them at all times but this is neither true nor helpful. As long as you are working hard when you are revising it is not only acceptable but actually advised. Yep that’s right; you can watch Netflix guilt free as long as you have worked hard on your revision first.
3. Use tried and tested memory techniques to remember things, just reading a revision book doesn’t work; your brain is not a sponge!
I promise you, you might think that reading your notes over and over and over and over again will make them stick but it’s a myth (unless you’ve got photographic memory you lucky thing). Make mind maps, use stories to remember key words or try using loci (placing things you need to remember in places in your house mentally).
4. Eat healthily (as healthily as possible when you are stressed!) AND drink lots of water.
I know this point just sounds annoying, but stressing out makes some people not want to eat anything at all while others feel like they want to eat everything in sight. Try and eat healthily because the vitamins and minerals in your food will help your brain and too much junk will just make you feel rubbish and tired.
5. Try and get a good night’s sleep (easier said than done I know!)
Your body is looking for at least 8 hours. Go to bed extra early try to wind down: don’t just expect to fall asleep like you will every other night (try hot drinks, a bath, a book etc etc). Don’t stay up all night revising, it’s only going to make your brain want to sleep during to the most inappropriate time (the exam) and we’ve all seen the Inbetweeners, energy drinks are not the answer!!!
6. Talk to somebody reassuring to put your mind at rest and remind you that you are more than capable of doing it!
I know it sounds common sense, but tell someone that you are stressed and nervous and they can reassure you and help you calm down.
7. Keep your revision on your phone
How many times do you check your phone a day? Too many right, well think how many times you would look at your revision notes if they were your background. I’m not asking you to stare at them 24/7 but what is the harm in looking at them when you’re bored or waiting for someone.
8. Try to think about how you are going to feel when the exams are all over!
Try and visualise the feeling of when this exam is done and done good! Maybe book something or arrange something with friends for when they’re over as an incentive to work hard now and have a lot of fun rewarding yourself after. This might also work as a motivator when you’re feeling lazy and procrastinating like a pro!
ON EXAM DAY …
9. Make sure you have breakfast… even if you are not hungry
Even if you feel too nervous to eat (and I really know what feels like I promise) force yourself to eat something, even if it is only fruit. Your brain needs fuel to concentrate and also how annoying is it to hear your stomach rumbling throughout the whole exam
10. Get to the exam super early
It’s just one less thing to stress about. Which scenario do you think will prepare you best for the exam? 1) Being stuck in traffic or running up the road a few minutes before you’re supposed to be there and you’re panicking that you might be late or 2) (this is the right answer, pick this one) Knowing you are there, ready, having time to go through your revision notes or try and relax for a little bit before you go in… I know which one sounds best to me! Also get all your equipment ready the night before. Again, easier life if your night searching round the house for a pen in the morning.
11. Got a Lucky Mascot? Bring it for sure!!
Lucky pen? Socks? Pants? Doesn’t matter what it is or it its seems weird, if there is a chance that it is lucky and it will make you feel and little more confident then put it in your bag or wear it under your uniform! We could all do with a bit of luck from time to time.
12. Avoid talking to other people outside the exam room about what you have revised
I know its soo tempting to ask the others what they’ve been doing, what they remember etc etc etc BUT there is a massive flaw in this plan, the fact that when ( and I say WHEN and not IF because this ALWAYS happens) they tell you that they’ve revised something you haven’t… you are going to doubt yourself, freak out and feel less confident! Either quietly go over what you revised by yourself or chat about something totally unrelated.
13. Top psychology tip!
Put your favourite chocolate bar or sweet or anything you would really look forward to eating in your bag. Tell yourself you can only have it once you have finished the exam. Psychologically the thought of a reward will stimulate your brain to work quicker and harder as it wants the sensation of pleasure (a weird psychology fact… but true!). And if it doesn’t work and is not tru you still get to eat chocolate (so really what’s the worst that can happen?).
DURING THE EXAM …
14. DO NOT freak out!
If you start to panic… Stop. Put the Pen down. Tell yourself you can do it (because you can! Imagine that I’m telling you or your teacher is telling you if it helps!). Take deep breaths and a sip of water. Then concentrate on a question at a time or a paragraph at a time. It’s all mind over matter!
15. Re-read all of your answers and make sure you have read ALL of the question paper
We’ve all heard of the person that missed the 6 mark question, or forgot to answer a whole page because they didn’t see it. DO NOT LET THIS BE YOU! Just check it and this major slip-up can be avoided.
AFTER THE EXAM …
16. Don’t replay it over and over again
Whether you thought the exam went brilliantly, okay or awful it’s done now so guess what… mulling it over in your head and talking about what you wrote with your friends is NOT going to change the words you wrote on your paper. Try and relax, feel relieved and proud of yourself that you’ve done it. Eat your chocolate… you deserve it.
17. Finally, remember there is life after exams
You did it!
By Miss Hughes
Accelerated Progress Coach
Durrington High School