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Be prepared

  • Is your exam timetable in order? Remaking the list so you know which exams are first, second etc. and then marking them in a calendar can help.
  • Do you know the marking schemes for each exam and how long each exam takes? Ask your teachers to go through this with you if you are unsure, or you can check the exam boards website. It is really useful to try and get copies of past exam papers to look over.
  • What do you need to revise? Speak to your teachers about this or check the exam boards website. Renting or buying the exam board revision guides from a library or shop is really useful.Some schools make their own revision packs they give out to students, you could ask for a copy of these if you don’t have one already.
  • Got equipment? Know what equipment you need/are allowed to bring to each exam. Having everything you need in advance can help relieve some test anxiety on the day.

Create your environment

It helps to find a comfortable, calm revision space for yourself where you feel able to focus and in control.

  • It is important to not have any distractions like phones, games, social media or television while you’re revising.
  • Having some snacks on hand can help, and healthy snacks like nuts or bananas and plenty of water are good for energy levels. 
  • Listening to classical or calm music while you study can help with concentration as well.
  • Decorate the space with inspirational quotes or beautiful images and things that motivate you.
  • Try and keep the space organised because the environment around you can affect your mood. Sometimes when you’re stressed it’s easy to let clutter build up but try to keep on top of this.

Break it down

Don’t overload yourself with too much information. Break your revision into manageable chunks.

  • For each subject write a checklist of all the topics you need to revise, next to each topic mark down how confident you are in it and what areas you know well, a little or not at all.
  • Then work out how much time you have until each subject’s exam, and make a schedule of what days / times you will study each topic. Stick it up somewhere visible or keep it on you to remind you.
  • Everyone has different body clocks and times of day they are most productive - don’t force yourself too often to study late in the evening if you are an early morning person, or vice versa.
  • Remember to revisit topics you learn the following day, and then every week or so, to make sure they stay in your long-term memory.
  • Allocate more time to topics you don’t know well.

It’s OK to ask for help from your teachers, friends and family if you are struggling to understand something, you don’t have to feel you are alone in the revision process.

Take regular breaks

  • About 45 minutes is a good amount of time to study for before your brain starts to switch off, but this might be slightly longer or shorter for you.
  • Schedule regular breaks at intervals when you are revising, for example; study for 45 minutes, have a 20 minute break.
  • Try to change your setting and activity during your breaks; go into a different room, take a short walk, speak to a friend or family member, go out into the garden, read a book.

Set realistic goals

  • Don’t try to cram too much in everyday.
  • Choose one or two topics you’ll work on each night.
  • Try to give yourself a night off each week where you don’t have to revise.

The earlier you start revising the more you will be able to spread out your time.

Practice

Often people fall down with the format / time restraints than the content of an exam. Allow yourself time to do some practice papers to help you get used to timed writing. If you are struggling to keep to time, speak to your school and see if they can help you.

You and your body

Eat healthily and regularly: Having a steady, balanced diet during stressful periods helps you feel well and better able to manage the pressure.Try to avoid high-sugar, or caffeinated foods and snacks like energy drinks, coffee, sweets, soft drinks and high fat foods as this can make you feel irritable and moody. Be active: Try to be active / exercise as much as possible, aim for 30 minutes a day. This can be playing a sport, dancing, walking, running, swimming...whatever you enjoy.

Sleep: Get plenty of sleep during your revision period. Having enough sleep will help improve your concentration and energy levels, and your general sense of wellbeing and mood.
Aim to have 8 - 10 hours of sleep a night. Allow some time to relax and wind down before you go to sleep, avoiding being on the computer or on your phone. This helps your brain and body prepare for rest and release some of the day’s tension.

Breathe: If you feel yourself panicking or feeling upset remember to take deep breaths, walk away from the situation for a while (if possible) and be kind to yourself. Don’t feel pressured to keep everything going if you need a break.

Time to talk

Talk to others about it if you are feeling stress, anxiety or overwhelmed. Utilise the support network around you; friends, teachers, family, other professionals.

Talking through the problem can help, don’t feel you have to handle all alone. Although you will inevitably have less spare time in the lead up to exams, in moderation it is still important to maintain the positive relationships in your life, see your friends and leave the house during this time. 

Revise your way

Everyone has a different learning style, so cater your revision towards what works for you. Don’t stick to just one method of revision if it’s not working for you, try out different techniques that may be better suited and can even make revision fun.

  • If you are a visual learner maybe think about using or creating flow charts or pictorial notes.
  • If you are an auditory learner record yourself reading texts you have to memorise or quotes you need to know and listen to them on the way to and from school.
  • If you learn by doing and repetition then practice answering questions related to each topic many times.
  • Maybe writing out information helps you, maybe making flashcards is better.
  • Try writing a creative short script or story about a topic you’re learning. Have debates with friends about study topics or theories.

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