Tips, tricks and ideas…we all need them when exams are approaching, right? Most of us cram, spend multiple sleepless nights and live on cup after cup of coffee, it seems. I fail to understand why students leave exam prep for the last minute. I mean, we all know what we’ve studied throughout the term; so, if you think about it, we can start preparing for exams before we even get the syllabus and timetable!
Most schools have their exams starting in the last week of April or first week of May. You still have some time left, so here are a few easy tips as the countdown to exams begins!
10 Days Before the Exam
- Plan and schedule
Go down the traditional way and make a study schedule on paper. Set aside time for sleeping and eating and then allot your free time for studying. Try to be as rational as possible and avoid panicking and burying your head in a pile of books without any planning.
Being organised is KEY to success in exams. Make sure your schedule is designed to give adequate time to each subject. Make sure to take a break after every two hours (but make sure the break isn’t too long!)
- Manage your stress
Stress related to exams is normal and expected. Some stress can positively stimulate you to score better. But this doesn’t mean that having ‘stress-roaches’ on your head will help you study well! Too much of it can make you panic and hinder your concentration, thus, affecting your performance negatively.
Taking regular breaks, exercising daily and spending some time relaxing with friends and family can help you tons! If you start feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with anxiety, try stepping away from the books for a while. Just don’t use the anxiety as an excuse to stay away from them permanently!
- Ask for help
Many of us think that if we ask our teachers for guidance right before the exam, they’ll be pissed off…but in my experience, this can really help. Don’t ever be afraid to ask your teachers for help; they are there to help you and they’ll be glad to assist anytime.
If you need clarification on a topic, ask the teacher to talk you through it. How can you complain about unhelpful teachers if you don’t even ask for help? Don’t panic in silence when there’s a support network around you!
- Get plenty of sleep
I know this sounds contrary to studying for exams but rest is good for your brain. Make sure to get a full six to eight hours of sleep each night and avoid staying up all night, studying till the early hours of morning. Sleep is vital to exam success!
5 Days Before the Exam
- The mind-hand connection
Start attempting practice papers a week before the exam to train your hand and mind to work quickly during the exam. This will help you improve your writing speed and you will be able to avoid making careless mistakes for which you could be heavily penalised. Writing answers also helps boost memory.
1 Day Before the Exam
- Shut your books 24 hours before the exam
If you have followed all the tips so far, you should be done with studying AND revising well before the exam. Pack everything you need for the exam in a clear bag the night before to avoid rushing and packing at the last minute in the morning. Essential articles might include working pens, pencils, a black pointer (for headings), a sharpener and an eraser, a calculator and WATER.
Staying hydrated before and during the exam can help keep your mind fresh and make your brain work faster!
On THE BIG DAY!
- Be an early bird
On the day of the exam itself, try and rise early and eat breakfast, whether you feel like it or not. Have something light and nutritious – some cereal with yogurt/milk or toast and omelette/fried egg, a banana and coffee/tea.
A full stomach helps us feel grounded and relaxed while hunger slows the brain down. Plus, do you want your tummy rumbling loudly in the middle of the exam?
Now make the most of the next 10 days and armed with these tips, I’m sure you’ll breeze through your exams!
Best of Luck!