Exams and tests can be stressful, but there are some simple ways to prepare for exams and keep your cool at the same time, that will take the strain out of the situation. I remember what it was like when I was sitting exams and I see my students feeling the strain every year when the exam season approaches. Some people really struggle under the pressure so here are some ways to prepare for exams that may help.
One of the tips which helped me through revision hell and is one of the great ways to prepare for exams, is to revise the main points and the most difficult information first. These general ideas and concepts will help you to understand some of the detailed points on which you might be tested. Try the "cover and scribe" method which basically involves reading through the information, closing your book and then seeing how much you can remember. Writing it down will help you remember too, rather than just reading through your notes which sometimes doesn't help. Another great tip which certainly worked for me, is to read your notes before you go to sleep. The information seems to stay in your memory when it is read right before going to sleep.
This is one of my favorite ways to revise. Make posters and mind-maps of the main points and be sure to use shapes and colors as your brain is more likely to remember these. Prompt cards are another good way to prepare and to get people to test you on the main points you're likely to be examined on. Prompt cards can be a good way to 'jigsawing' your revision too. If there are certain points which need linking, you can test yourself on the ways in which they link by laying them out and seeing how the points could link together. The possibilities are endless with revision cards and it's the 'doing' which helps you remember and learn too!
One of of the other ways to revise is to record yourself saying the main points and listen back to it before you go to bed, on your way to school or any time of the day. The great thing is, no one is going to know you're listening to your revision notes. You could accompany your notes with silly rhymes, music and sounds to help you remember certain points too.
This is the most important tip in preparation for your next exam and probably one of the most difficult. It's so important to relax. If you're in a state of stress then you're unlikely to perform at your best. A little bit of stress is good as it gets the adrenaline going, but too much can have a detrimental impact on your health, so be sure to find time to relax. This can be achieved by exercising, spending time with friends or making sure you spend some time on your favorite hobby, whatever it may be.
This goes hand in hand with the relaxation tip. It's important to eat well full-stop, as this will help both your brain and your body. Ensure that you eat a balanced meal of protein and carbohydrates and have a good breakfast on the morning of the exam so that you have the energy to sustain you. Limit your caffeine intake and don't pull an all-nighter by cramming for that test the next day, as you're likely to suffer the consequence and come down with an almighty crash after that caffeine high.
Remember to take regular breaks. Your brain can only take so much at one time so this is so important. Whether it's going for a walk, phoning a friend or reading AWS (the best way to relax!) take a little time to re-charge your batteries and see things with fresh eyes. You'll be more productive that way. As a general rule, ten minutes out of every hour should be set aside as break time.
Sleep is so important. You want to feel well-rested and ready to tackle that exam head on. Get a good night's sleep in the run up to your exam and you will feel mentally prepared. Remember, an athlete wouldn't deprive themselves of that all important thing so why should you.
These are just a few tips to help you prepare for that exam. Does anyone have any other advice for exam preparation? Has anyone used any of the above tips and found them useful?
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