For many of you, exams are a mere month away! For some of you, these exams will determine whether you are accepted into the university of your choice or these exams might be your first exams at a university level.
Regardless of your situation, exam stress can turn even the most organised and prepared student into a ball of nerves. Here are some tips for preparing and studying so that you’ll get through those exams with flying colours and are exam-ready!
1. Where do I Start?
You may be looking at your coursework and wondering how you’ll manage to remember everything. The good news is that the sooner you start the better! Make a note of when your exams are and start preparing in advance. By even setting aside two hours a day from tomorrow onwards, you will be exam ready and more confident.
Find out what is expected of you:
Knowing what to expect in your exam can help you feel more in control.
- Know when exactly you will be examined and how long you have in order to prepare for the exam. Start preparing as soon as possible!
- What will you be examined on? Has your teacher/ lecturer made an exam-breakdown available? Make sure that you know what to expect in the exam so that you know what to study.
2. How do I Manage my Time?
Time management is a tricky thing to master and it becomes vital to success when you are preparing for an exam. Often time management might mean taking a few hours out of your day which you might usually spend watching TV or socialising, in order to revise. Time management means breaking up your day into study times, relaxation times and times for seeing your friends and family.
We all know that cramming all night for an exam isn’t always the most successful way to get good marks, so plan your study time ahead so you’ll be more exam ready than ever before. Studies have shown that we are able to concentrate properly for about 40- 45 minutes at a time. By taking this into consideration study for about 45 minutes at a time with 5 or 10-minute breaks in between each session. During your break have a snack, watch some TV or go for a walk!
Remember that it is important that you study in a manner so that you understand the material and not just memorize it; it will be easier to remember things which you understand clearly.
3. How Should I Study?
Not everyone can study the same way and achieve results. Make sure that you know what works best for you and study in this way. Do you need pictures and flashcards to help you remember things? Then do that! Are you someone who needs to sit in a coffee shop around people – go for it! Do you need quiet and zero distractions rather? Then lock yourself in your room and get on with it! When it comes to getting exam ready, people are all different and different study techniques work for different people. Make sure you know what study techniques work for you and optimise your study times to suit these study techniques to get the most out of your study sessions.
- Make notes with colourful pens and pictures.
- Read your notes aloud to yourself and underline key phrases, terms, and formulas as you go along. It is often helpful to engage as many senses as you can while you study.
- Make flashcards and quizzes to do with your friends.
- Test yourself regularly to help you remember terms and theories.
4. Stay Positive!
It may seem a bit silly, but being positive and visualising success can go a long way to helping you manage your stress. Studies have shown that just thinking one positive thought about something you are nervous about, can help to change your perception about it! By thinking positive thoughts about your exams and your marks you can change your perception about exams. Try to imagine yourself writing the exam and knowing the answers. Imagine the mark you aim to achieve and study with this mark in mind! When you imagine yourself being successful, you’re more likely to succeed. With that being said – you can’t just visualize studying – you actually have to do it!
5. The Actual Exam
So the day has arrived and you have put in all the hard work and effort. You feel exam ready. Now what?
- Wake up in time so that you can have breakfast and get ready calmly before your exam without rushing.
- Make sure that you have all the necessary stationery and tools you might need in the exam before you leave the house.
- Once you are seated, make sure you are comfortable. If there is something making you uncomfortable, ask an invigilator to help sort it out for you. It is important that you can sit down and write the exam without being uncomfortable or distracted.
- Scan the page when you get your exam script and make sure that you have read every question carefully.
- Pace yourself. Try to stay until the end of the exam in case you remember an answer and then once you have finished go back and review your answers. Remember to remain positive during the exam and visualise success!
There are so many different resources available online and at your school or university to help you deal with exam stress. Speak to your family, teachers or lecturers and peers if you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about what to study. It is important to manage your stress in a healthy way!