Exam season can be really daunting, it’s the time where you have to put to use all of the knowledge you’ve acquired on your course. Mess up your exams and you can end up having to resit a year (at huge financial expense) or even end up dropping out completely- both options feeling pretty terrifying. No one likes exams but if you’re well prepared and go about things the right way, you can definitely reduce stress and ensure you’re going into it as well prepared as possible. Here are some tips for going about it.
Write out a revision schedule- and stick to it
When it comes to revising, so many students make the mistake of leaving things until the last minute. Spending a week ‘cramming’ is most definitely not the most effective way to do things, you’re more likely to forget what you’ve taken in, and will cause yourself a whole lot of stress. Don’t forget, for your big, end of year exams you could be tested on anything you’ve learned throughout that entire year, there’s a LOT of material to cover and some of it you won’t have gone back to for many months. Create a revision schedule and stick to it, this ensures you dedicate enough time to each topic, and can get everything covered before your exam date. The trick to this is starting early, giving yourself at least a month where you spend time each week revisiting and memorising the information you need on each topic. Leave it too late to revise and you simply won’t have enough time to get everything done, and could get into your exam and get questions on topics you just don’t remember enough about from class,
Prioritise your studies over social events
Being in college or university is about so much more than studying, it’s a chance to live as an independent adult for the first time, explore new hobbies, socialise and find out about who you are as a person. However, the end goal to attending an academic institution is to come out with a qualification, and so when exam time rolls around, this is where your focus should be. It’s not to say you should spend three years with your head in books, never going out or making the most of your time- but at certain points of the academic year it’s crucial to remember what you’re there for. Before adding any social events to your calendar, check that it’s not going to interfere with your revision. Parties, social gatherings and other fun things can definitely be enjoyed but keep a clear head and your goals in mind over exam season and try not to be distracted from what’s important.
Get enough sleep, eat well and stay hydrated
We all know that college and uni students don’t have the best diets. Chances are you live on budget meals like beans on toast, cheese toasties and tomato pasta most of the year. It’s understandable, making ends meet on a small budget can be tough. But over exam season, do your best to take care of your body. Purchasing in season vegetables from markets for example doesn’t have to cost a lot, you can batch cook them along with some meat and portion them out to freeze, giving you healthy, low cost meals. Stay hydrated as this will keep your brain working at its best, this means avoiding drinks that will dehydrate you too such as coffee, energy drinks and cola. It’s tempting to want to rely on these for a ‘boost’- but all they’ll do is make you crash and feel worse a little later and can also affect your sleep. And speaking of this, do make sure to get enough sleep. Revision is a huge test of your memory, and memory function is hugely reduced in people that are sleep deprived. Don’t make this an uphill battle, give yourself the best chances by looking after your body.
Find safe and effective ways to relax
Exams can be really stressful, as well as looking after your body you need to take care of your mind too. Too much stress and you won’t be able to retain information well, and can easily go to pot in the exam room. Some nerves can be useful and are always going to be normal, but extreme stress is never good. Find safe and effective ways to relax in between revision sessions to calm your mind- you could practice self massage, or experiment with oils such as lavender and cbd oil (which is legal, safe and effective, more info can be found here cbdflowerusa.com/ultimate-guide-cbd-isolate). You could try some gentle exercise, meditation or chat to a friend. Getting yourself organised and leaving enough time to get everything done can also be good for your mental wellbeing as you don’t leave yourself too much to do. Avoid drowning your sorrows with alcohol which will leave you feeling hungover, dehydrated and much less able to concentrate. And it goes without saying, avoid any kind of illegal drugs, not only are they dangerous but get caught with them and you could end up getting kicked off your course.
Get some one on one time with your tutor
Tutors might be busy people, but if you organise a one on one session some time in the run up before exams they should make the time to see you. Go into the appointment equipped with any questions you want to ask, and either a voice recorder or a notepad to take down notes. This is an opportunity to ask them to clear up anything you don’t quite understand or things you’re struggling with. If they have any exam study sessions arranged where they’ll be offering help to smaller groups then get yourself booked onto there too. Take any extra help you can get.