Even though exam season is undoubtedly the worst time of the whole year; it doesn't have to be a complete disaster in terms of getting all the preparation done.
So, in a show of solidarity with everyone who's getting ready to walk into the exam hall and stare fear right in the face, here are sixteen tips that'll help you on your road to success.
1. Make your notepad as organised as possible.
A complicated mess on the page will lead to a complicated mess in your brain.
2. Practise your short-term memory.
This will test if you're actually taking in anything you're reading. Look away from the textbook and try to remember the key figure/fact you just read. If you can't, keep going until you can.
The brain responds to visual triggers, so highlight important passages to ensure they jump off the page. Assign certain colours to facts that can be used in conjunction with each other, and hope to God that you've got a photographic memory.
4. Make use of past-papers and time yourself.
Knowing what the format of the paper will look like is half the battle. If you're comfortable with the set-up, you're less likely to make a timing error on the actual day.
Also, make sure you can complete the exam in the allocated time - set an alarm when you're practising and check how long it takes you to complete the paper to a decent standard.
5. Explain the topic to someone else.
If you can't explain the subject to your sister/mother/cousin, then you don't understand it well enough.
6. Stage a worst-case scenario paper for yourself.
That *one* topic that you're absolutely dreading will come up in the exam? Dedicate a proportionate amount of time revising it to how scared you are of it cropping up. Keep going over the subject until it's something you're hoping WILL come up.
7. Set rules and stick to them.
It's no good drawing up a detailed timetable if you're not going to stick to it. Be firm with yourself, and think about how frustrated you'll be if you open your envelope on Results Day and know you could've done better.
8. Reward yourself when you deserve it.
That doesn't mean buying every Kylie Jenner lip kit available. Treat yourself with a certain snack, a bath, or an episode of your favourite show. But, if you know in your heart that you haven't been working as hard as you should have been, don't commiserate with the same items.
9. Make sure your sleep pattern is reasonable.
You physically can't study for 24 hours a day. Staying up all night is only going to make you cranky, tired, and unable to retain information the next day. This gets even more important as the looming exam date draws closer - if the start time is 9.00am and you've only had 5 hours of sleep, your performance is definitely going to reflect that.
10. Get up early.
There's something about waking up ahead of everyone else and getting underway with a topic that makes you feel like you're on top of things. Surfacing at 1pm just isn't going to have the same effect on your motivation.
11. Turn the TV off/log out of your social media
You can't revise if there are distractions all around you. Make sure the TV and Radio are switched off and, if you're a social media addict, log out of the App or turn your notifications off before you sit down to study.
12. Know the marking criteria inside out.
This is particularly important with the Humanities. The examinor will be marking your essays directly from the material they're given; so if you need to cite two critics to get into the upper band of the grading scale, make sure you're doing it.
13. If you get overwhelmed by a certain topic, go for a walk/run.
Sometimes you can reach saturation point with the tough topics, and, rather than stressing out and panicking about it; clear your head with a bit of exercise. Not only will it raise your dopamine levels (and help with your creativity) but you'll be amazed at what a short break can do for your morale.
14. Rewrite and condense your notes.
Don't just copy down old notes in a prettier style of handwriting; you're not going to learn anything by that. Always try to rewrite or condense your notes into the shortest, snappiest paragraphs you can think of.
If it helps, try and imagine how your favourite celebrities/fictional characters would rephrase the topic, or read the notes in a different accent to make the information instantly more memorable.
15. Get interactive.
Don't be afraid to use different modes of education other than books. YouTube has some great documentaries, lectures, and tutorials that can be useful tools in your revision plans - likewise, you can download some brilliant podcasts/audiobooks straight to your iPhone.
16. And finally, try flash-cards for subjects where you need to remember figures and studies.
This is particularly great for those topics where you need to be able to recall an inhuman amount of information. If you can keep the facts at the forefront of your mind, you can build the rest of your argument around them.
Oh, and keep going.
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