Uh-Oh it’s that time of the year again!
And so I have put this post back up which by no means implies that we’re all hard core on studies on Ebony Ink. So if you’re not being tortured by exams, check out the other not-so-serious-and-depressing stuff we have to offer. 😉
Till then we shall be squirming over our books…
A lump rises in your throat and you get wild butterflies in your stomach at the very mention of revision, and soon there are piles and piles of books, papers, pens, notes scattered all over the place with you in the middle having a nervous breakdown. Sound like you? Then you’ve come to the right place… I’ve put together some do’s and don’ts’ that will keep you healthy and at your best so you can kick some butt in that examination room!
UNFORTUNATELY, there is no alternative to plain old classic revision, BUT it doesn’t have to be torture… seriously, I mean it. And it doesn’t have to be plain old classic revision either. 🙂
– Whatever you do DON’T stay up for all night study sessions, fueling yourself with caffeine. This is the worst thing you can possibly do, even though it may seem like you’re achieving a lot in a little amount of time. All this does is disrupt your sleeping and eating patterns and totally trashes your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching a cold or other illness.
– Don’t stress out. This is also going to weaken your immune system, you’ll end up feeling absolutely miserable and won’t be able to study. I know it’s easier said than done, but here are a few ways to relieve stress and get you back on track:
• Every time you start to feel a panic attack coming on, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
• If this doesn’t solve the problem, then tell yourself to “stop” and think calmly about the problem. Is it really that bad? Is it really impossible to get through all the notes? If the answers are yes and yes, then have a 10 second panic period, then go back over the problems and list down as many solutions to the problem as you can no matter how silly they may seem. Now, just go back and eliminate all the ones that won’t get you anywhere, and you’re left with the best solution(s).
• Get out of your work space for a bit and get someone to test you on what you’ve done so far. This will help get your head back to the notes.
• If you feel a surge of negative energy as you rack your brains over algebra, just relax, take a few deep breaths and imagine yourself in the exam room, cruising through the papers, then getting your results back, acing the test. As cheesy as this sounds- just believe in yourself.
• Squeeze one of those super cool squishy foam smileys. Release your stress out of your fingers or do yoga, meditation, kickboxing- anything that will help you relax.
– Don’t revise in front of the TV or computer. You won’t get anything done, and you know it. Find a quiet place where you can concentrate on your work, with nothing to distract you. If some spaces don’t work for you, then find another space where you can keep your focus. Study outside under a tree, or go to the library, but be careful about the spaces you choose, you don’t want to be disturbed.
– Plan out your study timetable. I know this sounds like a geeky thing to do, but plan out what subject you’re going to study on what day, working around your exam schedule. This will really help you to manage your time well and you won’t be doing last minute catch ups.
– If you’re a hardcore crammer, studying for hours on end, then you wont really get a whole lot through your overworked brain. Do yourself a favour, take breaks. Do the 45/15 routine, revise for 45 minutes then take break for 15. This way you’re not prone to distractions and you’re not going hungry. Have a snack or go for a quick walk, fresh air will help you to relax. But make sure you stick to the 45/15 rule- don’t sit down to watch an hour long soap, that’s just procrastination and we all know procrastination lands us in major trouble…(yes i speak from experience)
– This brings us to our next point- start revision early. Don’t wait for two weeks before exams to start revising. I start revising almost a month beforehand. Yeah, I’m a nerd, but it really keeps the pressure and work load to a minimum. Don’t go into hard out revision just yet-start with revising at least three times a week, and when you have some spare time do some more, and gradually increase the time you spend revising. This stops you from diving straight into full on revision, because that’s really difficult.
– Music will help you relax and study with a little less stress. Grab a couple of highlighters, a bottle of water, some snacks and your iPod and get to work. Highlighting out the key ideas, facts and words will reduce the quantity of things you go over and make it easier to learn, and a couple of sentences are less intimidating than huge chunks of paragraphs. Drink plenty of water-it’s good for you. Don’t go for energy, fizzy or caffeinated drinks. Water is always a healthier option and it will stop you from loading your system with junk. Grab an apple or a muesli bar to keep you going, don’t starve yourself- it’s not a torment competition. When you feel a bit weary of your science notes, just sit back, close your eyes and listen to you iPod for a little while.
– Limit group study sessions. Even though they can be helpful, don’t rely on studying with your friends all the time. It’s absolutely crucial you have some serious, individual study time, it’s not solitary confinement, if you go with the 45/15 rule, you have 15 minutes to text or call a friend (try to stay away from the computer, it’s a HUGE diversion). You can always call up a friend and ask if you’re not sure about something, they’re still there for you, you’re just not being a disturbance to each other.
It’s okay to feel stressed out, just don’t let it get in the way for too long. Brush aside the stress, keep calm, think happy thoughts… and here I go being cheesy again, but don’t give up at the first sign of trouble or an obstacle. It’s okay if some things don’t work for you, like the 45/15 routine, just tailor your study habits to fit you. There is no right or wrong.
And remember- don’t beat yourself up too much if your results don’t come out the way you expected, it happens to everybody. Nobody’s perfect!
I really hope this helps, especially if it’s your first time sitting an exam, or you’re just a worrywort, a hardcore crammer, or simply just hate exams because they scare the life out of you, take consolation in knowing you’re not alone.