Exam Tips: What to Do and What to Avoid

You would think after several years of exams at the end of each academic year we would be used to the process of planning, revision and stress that comes along with them. However, no matter what year of study you are in, exam period is always a painful time that makes you feel like the hard work is endless. Just remember that you will survive it, just like you have done before.
There are many ways in which you can help yourself get through this time and you’re probably thinking this is going to be the typical ‘five best ways to cope with exam stress’ kind of article, that’s why I have chosen to share my own personal coping mechanisms rather than the standard tips such as ‘make sure you get enough sleep.’ (Although that is still important)
1. Set yourself a realistic target everyday. Many people find that making timetables is a good way to plan out your revision and whilst for many this may work effectively, for those who are like me, it’s very difficult to stick to. I find that setting myself a realistic aim for each day works much better than setting myself a time frame for completing a particular topic, which usually stresses me out further if I cannot complete it in the time I’ve given myself and so my timetable fails. With a realistic aim, I never let myself down.
2. Starting the day healthy. (You should do this one all the time really) Every morning, I begin my day by making my own fruit smoothie. It wakes me up, makes me feel fresh and ready for the hard day ahead and of course, there are many health benefits. Being healthy makes me feel healthy and this is important during exams, as the better our nutrition, the better our brain will perform and the better we will study.
3. Do NOT drink coffee and red bull(or similar). Many, many, many students rely on coffee and red bull to give them the energy they need to power through work and to keep them awake through late nights, and I did used to be one of those too. However, high doses of caffeine can lead to anxiety, dizziness, headaches and affect your ability to concentrate. It could also lead to dehydration which could in turn make the brain work less effectively. You are far better off drinking lots and lots of water.
4. Do NOT discuss how much revision you have done with others. This may seem a bit odd as it’s only natural that you would talk about how revision is going with your friends and classmates. Nevertheless, it could lead to further stress if you discover that someone else is further along in their revision than you are and in turn could cause you to rush. It’s always best to remember to work at your own pace and it’s better that you have covered several topics thoroughly rather than all of them hurriedly.
5. Explain your answers to others. Okay this one maybe a bit cliché, however after speaking to others I realised that not enough people use this to their advantage. Although on paper something may make perfect sense to you, to the examiner it may not, that is why it is important to explain your answers to others as they can point out where your answer can sound confusing and also where you can add or develop to an answer.
Best of luck to everyone with their exams and I hope you find at least one, if not all, of the above tips useful. Also, remember, if you do find yourself becoming extremely stressed out and under pressure during this time then support can be received from the Student Counselling Service. You can telephone 01784 443128, call in to FW171 between 9-12 & 1-4pm or email [email protected]
Naveena Jawanda