It is exam season! The season students all over the country dread. Exams are a stressful time for students: trying to balance revision and meeting deadlines whilst attempting to stay positive. It does get tough, so it’s important to make sure you are looking after your physical and mental health during this period. So, here are some tips and advice for essential self-care throughout the exam season.
Top Tips for Self-Care
Be organised: Make a schedule and have a plan so you can manage your time more effectively.
Have a break: It is important to take a break and for your mind to have a little rest. So, move around and go outside and breathe the air. Or just have a stretch and look at a different view. Short, regular breaks will do more for your productivity than you think!
Eat and Sleep well: Make sure you eat healthily and get a good amount of sleep. Aim to get preferably 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. It is important to have a good rest and give your body the fuel it needs so your mind functions well and you physically perform better.
Reach out for support: If you are struggling or find yourself getting anxious and stressed about the exams, ask for help and talk to someone about how you are feeling, whether it be a friend or a professional. Most schools and universities have professional counselling available for free, and if not, your GP is trained to connect you to the help you need. Sometimes it can help just to have a good whinge and a laugh with your friends about what you’re going through.
Don’t Panic: It’s easier said than done but try to relax and think positively.
Understanding your learning style
It is important you know and understand your learning style. Once you understand whether you are a visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinaesthetic learner (learning by doing), remembering and recalling new information will become much easier
Revision is a process. Start by reviewing how much content you already know and plan to cover what you don’t. Revising is important and beneficial as it develops your learning further. Follow these revision tips to guide you on how to get your revision done:
Find a quiet place to revise: you don’t want to have any distractions or be interrupted.
Create a revision timetable: this is a great way to organise your study time, ensure you cover everything, and help boost your motivation.
Make sure you know which topics you need to revise for each subject: use your exam board specifications as a revision list.
Repetition: re-writing and repeating your notes will help you to remember the information, especially if you are a read/write learner.
Take regular study breaks: take short breaks to increase performance and reduce stress. Research has shown that students who take regular breaks retain more information. Some people recommend a 25/5-minute work/break system, but others find a 45/15 works best for them.
Think positive: you are already doing great by revising as it will help your learning so keep up the good work! Remember to celebrate little victories, even if it’s just finishing a topic, or taking time to make a healthy snack.
There are different methods to help with revision and each person has a different method that suits them. Here are some revision methods to consider:
Active Revision – this involves using your eyes, ears and hands in multiple ways. Active methods of revision include: writing revision notes, discussing topics and notes aloud, testing yourself or getting others to test you, attempting past exam papers and using revision websites. Revising actively is the best way to make sense of the material you’re revising and helps you to remember more.
Revision Cards – they are usually postcard size. You can make your own by simply
cutting a sheet of A4 card in four. Revision cards consist of simplified notes. Try putting possible exam questions on the front and facts/answers on the back.
Completing past papers – By completing past papers, you can identify gaps in your knowledge and practice showing the examiner what you know.
Managing Stress – High levels of stress hormone (cortisol) are known to have many adverse effects on your body, including your memory! Everyone has different methods of stress relief that work for them. Exercise has been shown to boost your mood and help you to relax. Talking to someone if you are under pressure helps as you are given support. Meditation is also a great way to relieve tension and anxiety – try searching online for apps or guided meditation if you don’t know where to start.
Staying Active- It is important to stay active as it increases your focus and helps you become fit and healthy. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Find what works for you – if you always hated cross country, a long run probably isn’t going to be relaxing, and you might do better with some gentle yoga!
Sleep – It is very important to get enough sleep, especially during exam season so your concentration levels can remain high, and you have more energy throughout the day. While it can be tempted to stay up late cramming, you’ll be much better off spreading your revision out and making sure you are rested.
Preparation- It is important to be prepared and make sure you have all essentials required. By being prepared, you increase your productivity.