How To Deal With Exam Pressures

Exams used to be reserved for the end of the year but it seems like these days not a day goes by without a re-sit or a mock exam going on somewhere up and down the country. Exams are scary! I mean nightmare on Elm Street scary. So here are a few handy hints to get you through them

Time

Most importantly is to make sure you give yourself time to study. If you’ve never used the calendar app on your phone, now is the time to start. Make a schedule and stick to it. You can start adding your social and work commitments in there. Leave some time for fun, but block book times to study and make sure you stick to them. The beauty of a calendar on your phone is that you can move a commitment if something unexpected comes up. And don’t forget to put the date of your actual exam in.

Get organised

Make sure you have a decent space to study in. Desk space to keep your books/notes on and any electrical equipment you need. But really think about if you need your tablet with you. They can be a great aid for study but are you just going to end up playing Candy Crush? If you know the answer is yes then leave it out of your sacred study space! If you have some self-control than your tablet can be a super useful tool.

When you are using your time, make sure to focus more of that time on areas where you are weak, but don’t forget the areas where you feel you are strong, repetition helps build neural synapses and therefore retain information (probably, that sounds right, right?)

Take breaks

The recommended amount of time a person can focus on something before their brains start to “switch off” seems to change constantly. It used to be 45 minutes, and then some experts said 12 minutes. Personally, I think it depends on the person. You know yourself how you feel. If you are midway through taking notes on Pride and Prejudice and start thinking about Keira Knightly, firstly don’t feel bad it happens to us all (women too!) secondly switch task, your attention span is kaput! If a switch in a task doesn’t reset your focus then take five minutes and maybe grab a snack which leads me onto…

Snack on brain food

Yeah, I love a Mars bar as much as the next guy! And snacking is a must whilst studying as it helps boost your energy levels. But stuffing back a Mighty Meaty and washing it down with a Red Bull will leave you bloated and not in the mood to study. Drink plenty of water and snack on foods that help your brain! fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries are all good examples.

Do old papers

If you can get someone to mark them for you then great, but even if you can’t it prepares you for how these exams will be worded and let you know what you are in for. There is no better way to help alleviate tension than having already done a bunch of exams.

Mind maps

These are great and please use them. Once they are done consider adding illustrations, pictures make a great memory aid! And stick them on your wall. Yes, the act of writing that information down helps to put it in your head but a cursory glance every day will help to cement it there.

In closing, I have to say that I know exams can be scary but just make sure you don’t have any regrets. Go into them knowing that you did everything you could do to get your best score and be proud of what you have achieved when you finish.

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