Are you worried about your exams? We know that exam season can be a very stressful time for students which is why we’ve put together some helpful advice to help you to look after yourself and your mental wellbeing during your exams. Use these top tips to succeed in your exams without burning out.
During exam season, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone! Thousands of students all across the country are in the same position (including all your friends). Keep in touch with your friends and support each other through this time. Friends can also help you see something from a different point of view if you’re stuck on a problem or struggling to understand something. In fact, it’s quite likely that you’ll be able to help each other out – read our blog about how to get the most out of group revision to learn more about revising with a friend.
When you’re studying, it can be helpful to take short regular study breaks as this has been shown to improve your performance as you don’t get too tired and can focus better. Some people use the Pomodoro Technique which involves working for 25 minutes and then having a 5 minute break. Different techniques work for different people and you might prefer to work for 50 minutes and have a 10 minute break. During these study breaks, you should move away from your study area to give your brain a rest which will refresh your concentration when you restart. You can go for a short walk to get some fresh air, do some stretches or yoga to give your body a break too!
Sometimes it can seem like exam revision is more important than everything else, but you must remember to eat 3 full, healthy meals every day during your exams. Eating nutritious meals will fuel your brain and give you the energy you need to study. There are even some ‘brain foods’ include berries, green, leafy vegetables, fish and nuts foods which are linked to better brainpower.
Your brain makes strong associations with different locations and what you usually do in those places. For example, your brain probably associates your common room with relaxing and chatting with friends, and your bed with sleeping. This is why it’s important to study in a separate space from where you relax. Your ‘study zone’ should be a quiet and tidy place where you can focus on your revision without distractions.
To prevent you feeling overwhelmed during your exams, we recommend setting achievable goals each day. Aim for between 3 and 5 goals each day. Don’t set a lot of goals as you are unlikely to achieve them all which will prevent you feeling you’re making progress. When deciding your daily objectives, be specific and realistic about what you want to achieve. It’s best to write your goals for tomorrow at the end of each day so you can start the day fresh and focussed.
Keep organised notes and use highlighters and post-it notes to focus on key points – you might even be able to visualise your revision notes when that question comes up. The BBC Bitesize website has more information about revision tips.
Although it might be tempting to stay up late and do that extra little bit of revision, this can be counterproductive. Getting enough sleep during exam season is crucial. Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and, if you can, avoid electronic screens for an hour before bedtime. Prioritising your sleep will help you stay focused, improve your concentration and improve your mood.
The key to looking after your mental wellbeing during exams is to ask for help if you are struggling. Talk to your support network – family, friends, your Houseparents, teachers or tutor, and of course Academic Families! Share how you are feeling so they can help you. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved.
Make sure you know where and when each exam is and how much time you have. It’s important to be calm as you go into each exam and manage your time ensuring you have time to answer all the questions. Read our top tips for exam day.
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