Sunday, 12 May 2013

What to do before and during exams

Exam period is on it's way and here are my tips to help get the best results. It's not an easy time for a lot of people, me included, and I find these help a lot.

First of all, you need to organise your work space and papers. I spent a few hours just clearing space a couple of weeks ago and I feel a lot more motivated. It's important to have space, to have everything organised so you don't have to look for it and to be able to study without being distracted. If you have a cluttered environment to work in and a messy file, you won't be able to concentrate on what you're studying and you'll find it hard to find what you're looking for so it won't be as efficient.

After that, make a study plan. But, don't spend days on it because then you're wasting precious study time. It needs to be clear and neat so you feel like it's an achievement when you follow it. It's also another source for motivation to have a good time plan and if you stick to it you'll feel more confident going into an exam which is a lot better than going in a nervous wreck because there's less of a risk that your mind is going to go blank.

Thirdly, give yourself breaks. Every couple of hours, give yourself a 10 to 30 minute break. Do something you like, for example spending some time on the computer or watching tv. A good thing to do is go outside and do a bit of exercise because it burns some physical energy so you won't feel like you need to get up and move as much when your trying to concentrate. Don't give yourself an excessive number of breaks, you're still meant to be studying more than the amount of time you're having a break!

The other thing I quite like to do to give me some motivation is have a small box of chocolates or a yummy snack in front of me. I tell myself that when I've finished this subject or this chapter then I can have a piece of it. I find it gets you through the harder subjects and the things you really don't like doing.

Another tip is mind maps. These are like diagrams that you can draw, you can also find ways to do them online but I find drawing better because you remember it easier. Basically, in the centre you put your subject, chapter, theme or whatever it is you have to work on and then on the branches you put the important things related to it or that you have to know about it. For example, if you have to study german vocabulary about transport, you'd put the german word for transport in the middle then have all the vocab words on the branches around it and you can also have branches with smaller branches. So you could have transport - cars - vocab about cars. You can also draw pictures around it to help you remember and it's your design so it's sort of how you work which is what I like about it because it makes it a lot easier to remember.

If you're still lacking motivation, think about how much happier you'll be during the holidays if you did well in your exams. You could also think about how proud the people around will be or think about treating yourself if you do well.

During the exams, you have to make sure you're getting enough sleep. I try and get minimum 8 and a half hours, so I have to go to bed at 10 pm. If you can, shut your computer and electronic devices off 15 minutes to half an hour before you go to bed and make sure your things are ready for the next day as soon as you've finished using them.

Finally, I find doing a minimum amount of exercise helps. It just keeps the stress levels a bit lower and takes your mind off things for a while. Even if it's just a quick walk, it's good to get some fresh air. Speaking of fresh air, if you're studying in your room or in an enclosed space, open the curtains and the window. It's much nicer to study in a nice environment than in a dark, hot room. If you want to be even more comfortable, wear comfy clothes like tracky bottoms (joggings/leggings).

And by the way, congratulations to all of you who got to the end of this very long blog post. I hope it helps some of you out there and good luck for your exams!

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