Studying for your exams (GCSEs, A-levels, BTECs, Degree or Masters) can be some of the most overwhelming, anxiety provoking times of our lives. Many of us query when will it end? What if I don't pass? Can I actually do it? This blog is here to help you get started. It is taken from my own personal experience, in addition to useful snippets of wisdom from other academics and past students.
1. Start now!
"Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today!" - Benjamin Franklin
Starting early with your revision will help you to pace yourself in the run up towards the exams. Leaving it to the last minute, with the aim of cramming, will only increase anxiety levels and make you irritable. There is nothing worse than looking back and thinking "if I only put that little bit more effort in and started revising early I would have reached my true potential!"
2. Location, location, location!
Sitting in the same room day after day can seem very dull! Why would anyone want to be in a room looking at the same 4 walls? Try switching up where you revise. Go to the library, a coffee shop, sit outside (weather permitting), sit in the car, go on holiday (yes people do this) or find a vacant room in school/college. I found that revising in my bedroom always made me incredibly sleepy; a quick 10 minute nap eventually turned into an hour nap. I would even go as far as to say I conditioned myself to associate revision with sleeping. Not wise! It's all about balance and discipline!
3. Ditch social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat! Check out how much time you're spending on your social media. If it's more 2+hours/day have a serious think about whether it is distracting you and how more productive you will be without it.
4. Ditch the part-time job.
If you actually don't need the money, consider how much time you are involved with your part-time job. It's not just being in work for a couple of hours or even just a Saturday, but all of those things that come with it. Getting ready, travelling & winding down time all need to be factored in. After all of your expenses and pulling you away from your studies, question whether its going to be worth it in the long run?
5. Past exam papers.
Look at the past papers which are available from your examining board. Get as much practice as you can and mark your own work. The more you do, the more you will spot patterns and trends in the questions. There are only so many answers you can give, but a host of different ways to question you. Don't let them throw you off with weird and bizarre questions.
6. Check out the examiners comments.
Found on the examining boards website, they inform you about how well each question was answered and general areas where students missed the mark.
7. Find a way that suits you.
Try not to just write notes out word for word. Try summarising on A3 paper using spider diagrams. Use post-it notes and cue cards. Have a copy of the syllabus and tick off what you know. Take a look on Seneca Learning. Draw up a unit presentation and present it to a family member.
8. Get a family member or friend to quiz you. Turn it into a competitive game.
9. Feeling stuck or bored of notes, then put on a YouTube video tutorial such as the Amoeba Sisters or Crash Course.
10. Look after yourself.
Physical and mental health is most important. Try to stay active, eat well, have a good sleep pattern and make sure you have time off to enjoy. After all, you are your most precious asset!