As the academic year nears its conclusion,
parents and students alike are beginning to stress over upcoming exams...
But don’t panic! We’re here to help.
Revision, exams, coursework, and the ensuing headaches they bring are enough to strike fear in parents and students across the country. May is almost upon us, and though the thought of summer freedom lingers overhead — the ultimate carrot at the end of a long, arduous stick — many are preparing to roll up their sleeves and knuckle down in preparation of the final hurdle.
From dissertations to presentations, A levels to GCSEs, the next four-to-six weeks are shaping up to be crucial for those in education, not to mention the parents, guardians, relatives and friends prepared to help their next of kin across the finish line. On the student’s part, a feeling of crippling dread tends to rage in the stomach right around this time of year. And procrastination? Procrastination is the tiny devil perched on your shoulder that’s consistently pushing and pulling your attention away from the work at hand.
But make no mistake; time is your greatest asset. And in preparation of the 2017 exam season, we here at LifeSearch have sifted through the planners, flashcards and even the multi-coloured highlighters to identify a series of revision tips for parents and students alike.
Identify Your Strong Suit
Not all students are created equal — you know it, I know it, and, frankly, the education board knows it, too. That means it’s up to you to identify your strong suit. Do you, for instance, work better alone, or with a study buddy? Are you a visual learner that prefers to conjure up graphs, charts, and diagrams to digest information? Or do you find it more comfortable to simply pour over long passages of text. Music, or no music? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself before carving out your own personal study routine.
Mix It Up, Both in Terms of Time and Method
They say variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to the annual exam period, it could become your secret weapon. Whatever type of learner you consider yourself to be — visual, auditory, read-write, or kinesthetic — mixing up your method of approach is the key to fighting off fatigue — or, worse, boredom. Mental concentration typically starts to decline after 30 minutes, so get creative! A word association game can help identify the most pertinent elements of any given topic, while writing things out from memory can help speed up the process.
Going one step further, don’t feel as though you have to set aside hours upon hours for revision each and every night. A concise, well-organised session of 45 minutes can often be ten times more efficient than staring at a textbook for hours on end, and you’ll feel all the better for it.
Ask for Help, Either From a Parent or a Friend
Swamped with work and impending deadlines? At times, revision can feel like a long, meandering road that needs to be travelled alone — but it doesn’t have to be. Reaching out for help and/or advice from a loved one is not only a means of offsetting boredom, it’s also a great way to reset your concentration levels, and you’ll often find that discussing ‘Topic X’ out loud will leave much more of an impression in your mind than, say, highlighting lines of text in your subject’s go-to textbook.
Fresh Air and Exercise
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Remember, the annual exam/revision period is better viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. That means it’s crucial to pace yourself. More often than not, people are so concerned with their physical health that they don’t pause to reflect on their mental well-being. The two are inextricably linked, of course, and when you’re knee-deep in past papers and citations, setting aside an hour for exercise can leave you feeling more focused. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, either; a therapeutic walk coupled with some music tends to clear your mind so that, when you inevitably return to your desk, you’ll be able to trace the fracture lines of that mental block that has been staring you in the face for the past half-hour.
Saving the best for last, sleep is arguably the most important trip of all. Without 7-8 hours of shut eye per night, revision can quickly become an almighty, almost insurmountable task. A lack of sleep is not only detrimental — mentally and physically — it also greatly impacts your ability to remember facts and figures. Picture your brain like a supercomputer; without an adequate amount of sleep, its natural system of processing and storing information is interrupted. Eyelids become heavy, memory becomes foggy, and all of that last-minute cramming can be for naught. Lay off the sugar-filled energy drinks, too — they’re a temporary fix that tend to throw a spanner in your sleep cycle. Switch to green tea or a regular ol’ brew to help keep the neurons firing. And for heaven’s sake, put the phone away; Snapchat will still be there when you’ve finished.