Here are my top ten tips when coping with exams for both University and A levels:
- Don't revise in your bedroom. It's nice to keep it as a space separate to everything you need to know so that you can actually relax
- Start early! Break it down over a longer period helps consolidate information so you can truly learn the majority of the content
- Sleep. Studies show that getting 8 hours sleep after revision helps aid recall the next day. All nighters never helped anybody and affect you up to 3 days later.
- The issue of 'pretty' notes. Spending a lifetime making sure notes look nice just wastes time. Obviously you want them to be legible but aim for concise not pretty!
- Snacks! The ultimate motivation tool! Give yourself a reward (e.g. a smartie) for being able to explain a topic, it really helps you to keep pushing.
- Breaks help to stop your brain from turning to much.
- Don't just read! Pick a topic, try and explain it to a friend or even the wall. It really helps to show whihc areas you are struggling is
- Music is actually a distraction! This depends on the type, classical is fine but anything with words is shown to distract from revision.
- The morning of the exam don't cram. By all means look over something you're unsure of to clarify but no one learns a mechanism in 5 minutes.
- I find planning what I am revising helps to stop me only lookng over stuff that I know and like. This way I have to revise all of the topics
It is inevitable that everyone gets stressed and if you don't you then you are insanely lucky! I personally get really 'snappy' when I'm stressed but I find that a long bath or a walk around Jephson gardens really helps to relieve my inner crocodile. This year I've planned my breaks to consist of milkshakes and a film to wind down in the evening. I have never liked revising before bed as it messes up my sleep schedule when my brain doesn't have time to switch off. My friends all have different methods (one likes a glass of wine at the end of the day though I wouldnt personally recommend this), it's all about finding what works for you since how you perform in exams is often reflected by how you cope with stress.
Good luck! Don't stress too much and remember there are lots of people to talk to if it all gets too much.