Preparing for exams
Exams can be a stressful for a lot of people. You may feel pressurised to learn a lot of information, or not have much time to complete the work, or it may be the uncertainty of what you’ll be asked to do during the exam. If you are feeling stressed, speak to your parents/carers, friends and teachers who will all be able to provide you with advice and help.
Here are some useful tips for dealing with exam stress:
Doing homework and revision is a great way to reinforce what you have learned during lessons. It is important that you plan your revision well, as leaving things to the last minute can create even more stress.
Learning to relax is an important skill which you’ll be able to use for all stressful situations. Build relaxing routines into your daily life, such as breathing exercises, doing exercise, listening to music or having a long bath will help.
Learn how to cope in the exam. Give yourself lots of time to get to the exam, try to relax if you begin to feel stressed, read the questions carefully, work out how much time you have for each question, and do your best that you can do.
Don’t worry if your results are lower, or higher, than you expected - there are lots of options available to you.
Here are some useful points to help you plan your revision.
Your study area
Your study area should be well lit, comfortable, quiet and calm, well-ventilated. There should be no distractions and drink plenty of water to keep you refreshed.
Plan your study
- List your subjects starting with the one you need to revise most.
- Look at your exam timetable, know what exams you have, how many, when, where, what time and what type.
- Write on your revision planner holiday dates or dates you know you can’t revise.
- Write your exam dates in your revision planner.
- Now work back to the present date, writing in realistic revision slots.
- Organise your note – divide into topics using dividers, highlighters etc.
- Identify gaps in your notes and replace.
- Ask for help if you find it difficult.
How to study
The brain recalls the first and last things best, so:
- break up time into small units of study between 10 and 45 minutes depending on your subject
- allow ‘learning periods’ these are breaks of 5 minutes to allow your brain to sort out the information it has collected
- review – try to remember what you have learned then fill in the gaps.
A mental block happens to everyone at some point, so take a breath, change topic, change activity (i.e. draw a chart), and don’t give in.
- Use mind maps, bullet points and spider graphs to make notes
- Get a friend to test you. Teach each other and discuss topics.
- Know your preferred learning style
- Use past papers to practice – time yourself and get used to answering questions.
Coping with exams
- Find out in advance how long the exam is and how many questions there will be.
- Don’t panic - take several deep breaths to calm yourself.
- Read the front of the examination paper and questions carefully. Check any special instructions and underline keywords.
- All enough time to answer each question. If you are running out of time, use bullet points.
- Plan out answers in note form, recalling as much as possible.
- Show your workings out.
- Tackle questions you are confident about first, then go back to the others.