Whether you are a high school student or Oxford-graduate, exams can be stressful and exhausting. It is always worth keeping the following tips in mind.
1) Find a method of revision which works for you. Individuals are different and what works for one student may not work for another. Some are visual learners, others are kinaesthetic learners. Take a little time to decide how you will revise before you decide when.
2) Don’t spend hours drawing up complicated revision charts and calendars. It is a running joke among teaching staff that some students spend more time working out complicated schedules than they do revising. Like most jokes, there is a great deal of truth to it.
3) Accept that you will have no social life for a few weeks. And ration your screen time (especially social media). Too many students make excuses for why they need to see a friend; a ’10 minute’ visit can quickly turn into a wasted evening.
4) Look upon exam season as going into battle. Like a soldier you must have everything ready: check your kit and train beforehand.
5) Sleep well, eat well and drink plenty of water. You must know your limits. After a certain point the brain will cease to absorb any more information, so if you have worked hard, take a break, eat something healthy and get an early night.
6) Plan something fun after the exams are finished. If you have something to look forward to, it will keep you motivated.
7) Do not revise on the morning of the exam. If you do not know it by now, you never will. And trying to cram information in at the last minute may in fact be counter-productive, confusing the brain and muddling up what you have learnt.
8) Get everything ready the night before. You don’t want to leave for the exam only to find the car won’t start or that you have lost your reading glasses.
9) During the exam, read the question. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many students read what they want to read rather than the actual question. No matter how intelligent and detailed your answer, you won’t do very well if you have made up your own question! So read the question slowly, digest it, then re-read it. If the question is made up of several sentences, highlight key words with a red pen.
10) Relax. Don’t go into the exam believing your whole life and future happiness rest on doing well. For a start that is almost certainly false. And, even if true, it will produce tension and anxiety, making it hard for you to concentrate.
Above all, remember that those who boast that it was easy are usually the ones who’ve failed! And never forget, no matter how much you may long to do well, there are always other options if you do not. Life does not begin and end in the exam hall. Follow the tips offered in this article and do your best. What happens after that is no longer in your hands.