Coming to terms with the fact that exams are in the near future can evoke stressful feelings within anybody.
These feelings become stronger as exam time creeps up on you and you do not feel prepared. Whilst this is very capable of happening, I would not recommend it. This is why this article is bringing to you specific ways in which you can learn exam preparation.
Naturally, these tips will also involve a layer of knowledge in regards to how to stay free of stress, because the two have a close relationship with one another. Thus, they will equip you in understanding how you can be pouring more energy into your work and revision as opposed to feeling nervous and stressed.
- Organisation is Key
- Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals
- Do Mock Exams and Past Papers
- Make Sure You Understand
- Hire a Tutor
- Find Somebody To Talk To
- Be Kind To Yourself
- Exams Do Not Define You
Organisation is Key
One of the best ways you can prepare for an exam and remove the possibility of stress is by not leaving revision and exam preparation to the last minute. You may do this because of procrastination, or maybe you simply are not bothered to revise. But it is only sensible to assume that leaving revision to the last minute will stress a person out more. During your last minute revision, your stress may override the content you’re supposed to be taking in. As a result, you might not end up doing much preparation at all.
The only way to prevent this happening is to be very organised. Everybody receives an exam timetable. Look at it carefully and be sure of the days and times of every single one of your exams. Then you will be able to create a clear schedule or schedule that revolves around revision. Be sure to allocate enough time to revise for each subject.
Doing this as soon as you receive your exam timetable – which is usually very much in advance – takes away the possibility of leaving it to the last minute. Therefore, you can prepare yourself quickly. You may feel little waves of stress leading up to and/or on the day of your exam. But it is immeasurable compared to the stress that comes from being completely unprepared.
Learn to Manage Your Goals
Part of setting a revision timetable is assigning certain areas of work to specific days. For example, on Monday you may want to familiarise yourself with the Cold War if you are doing History. Whereas, you may want to spend your time doing two past papers on Tuesday. This is a sensible agenda to have. But in line with this, do not go overboard with your plans.
It most likely would make very little sense if you had it on your timetable that you would be jogging your memory on the Cold War, the Weimar Republic and the Suffragettes on Monday. Then, you planned to complete ten different past papers on Tuesday. You would definitely be overworking yourself, whilst going into something that you are not allowing yourself to retain enough information from.
Regardless of how much time you have until your exam, it is no good trying to get too much done in one day. It is natural to want to know everything you can possibly know for the exam to maximise your attempts of doing really well. However, setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment at the end of the day. Maybe you cannot fit everything you planned into your day. Or it will lead to you feeling burned out because you took in too much information that you may not even remember.
It is important to make sure that you go into each day of revision with some loose goals. But these goals should not be completely out of reach, or anything that will jeopardise all the knowledge you could retain. This kind of exam preparation can cause unnecessary stress, so it is a good idea to stay within your means.
Do Mock Exams and Past Papers
I have briefly mentioned past papers in this article. To expand on it, I would like to stress how beneficial they can be. Revision is just one element when it comes to preparing for exams, but past papers can really allow you to feel as if you know what you are going into. By either searching online or going through your teacher, you can find past papers with the same exam board you will be using for a specific subject. You may find that the contents within the papers are things that you are aware of.
Chances are, the real exam paper won’t be too dissimilar in terms of structure. Some of the questions may even be in the same family. It is best not to go into it thinking that the real exam will be the same as the past papers. It will, however, definitely help you understand what to expect. This can release some of your nerves at the same time.
Treat It Like A Real Exam
Whilst past papers are usually done in your own time (or sometimes during a lesson assigned by your teacher), mock exams are also relevant and are usually done in school. They are not too different from past papers, and you will typically be told about them in advance. Therefore, you can treat it like the real exam. You can get experience in doing the necessary revision and planning for it, so that you can go into the mock exam feeling ready and confident. The good thing about these exams is that they are only a practice run. Therefore, you do not have to be too alarmed by your result, or allow it to stress you out.
Instead, you can pay attention to the parts that you didn’t do so well on and prioritise those areas firstly, when it comes to revision for the real thing. You can also speak to your teacher and find out from them exactly how you can do better in the real exam. Utilise the opportunity to improve.
Make Sure You Understand
Something that is really useful to keep in mind with revision is that simply reading does not equal revision. It is helpful to know how you plan to actually keep hold of the information that is before you. You could do this by making notes on different coloured cards, or being tested by a study partner. The one thing that will fail to help you is memorising information but not actually understanding it.
When it comes down to it in the exam, the questions asked won’t just rely on your knowledge. They will also rely on your understanding and comprehension. It will be very obvious if you are reciting a paragraph from a book, but not actually linking it to what the question specifically asks of you.
It may feel like memorising information is the easiest thing to do, but it is likely that you may feel stressed upon realising that you don’t actually understand much. A good way to combat this is by making sure that you are actually taking in the information you are reading. You can find the best way this works for you and decide whether it is easier with another person, or if you prefer revising alone. The more you understand, the lighter and less stressed you are bound to feel. You will not need to compensate for your lack of knowledge by releasing a bunch of information onto your paper that may not even be relevant.
Other ways in which you may find yourself doing this is by binge studying or studying overnight for the first time right before your exam. This can only cause stress, so it is best that you revise properly and make sure you really understand everything.
Hire a Tutor
In addition to ensuring you are understanding the information you plan to learn, you might find that something that would greatly benefit you is seeking and acquiring a tutor. A good word of advice is that you do not need to be in denial about anything during exam time. You may realise that there are a lot of things about a subject that you are not understanding. It would do you no favours to be stressing yourself out by continuously attempting the work, despite knowing you are not getting very far.
Instead, you can hire a tutor whilst preparing for exams. They can really help you to become more confident about the information you were not familiar with before. Of course, your teacher is always an option when it comes to helping you learn about the specific subject. But if you find that they cannot allocate as much time to you as you would like, an online tutor is also a great option.
For languages specifically, Learn&Co tutors consistently go above and beyond in ensuring they are helping students out with their reading, speaking and listening. Students may often feel more stressed when it comes to language exams. This is particularly because it is harder to be confident and prepared if you still do not feel that close to the language.
This is why professional Learn&Co tutors will really help you out with your needs. Then, you can go into these exams feeling as ready as you would be for the exams that require English.
Find Somebody To Talk To
Light stress is common amongst students as they prepare for exams. However, it is possible for you to feel really overwhelmed or down due to this feeling. In this case, it may not be a good idea to just push through and hope it goes away. Chances are, it may seep into the quality of your revision, and then your exams. Simply because it has been constant in you. Something that may help reduce this is by talking to somebody you feel comfortable with.
This could be a friend, a family member, a teacher, a tutor, and it could also be several people. Just ensure that it is somebody you feel you can talk to. Somebody who can understand the natural emotions you are experiencing. Hopefully, the positive results of this decision will make you feel glad you made it.
Be Kind To Yourself
Whilst the exam period can be a demanding and taxing time, one thing to always remember is how crucial it is to be kind to yourself. This means giving yourself and your body exactly what is needed and what will make you feel better whilst you prepare for exams. If you fail to incorporate any of these things into your routine, it is likely that you will feel the weight of your stress on you. Then you may find yourself spending a lot of time worrying instead of revising.
This is why you should get into some good habits during this period. Specifically, you should include some time to unwind into your revision timetable. This differs from taking frequent breaks which is also helpful, but breaks are often not very lengthy. You rewind by spending good chunks of time separating yourself from revision and work. Instead, you can remember your social life by doing things with friends. You can partake in fun activities, revisit your interests and hobbies, and generally just do things that will improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.
If you are just focusing solely on your exams and preparing for them, that is all your head will be filled with. You may then find it hard to find things to smile about or reasons to feel good. As important as exams are, they should never take away your happiness. This is why it is key to give yourself that time occasionally. Then you can return back to your revision.
Rest is Part of Your Exam Preparation
You should give yourself adequate rest; drink a lot of water; steer clear of unhealthy foods; stay away from coffee, alcohol and drugs; and exercise, even if it is just for ten minutes a day. Adopting these habits is crucial to you feeling more at ease with your studying.
One more habit that is interlinked with being kind to yourself is thinking positively. During this time, you might easily find yourself feeling hopeless about the process of revision. Or you may feel annoyed with yourself for not understanding something. Please remember that these negative thoughts can manifest into actions, such as the opposite of all the good habits mentioned.
In the long run, you will find that the energy spent on being negative is not productive at all. Be advised of your goals, which is probably to do really well in your exams. Thinking negatively about the exams or yourself will not bring you any closer to these goals. They will only increase your stress. Always work in alignment with your goals.
Exams Do Not Define You
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, try your hardest and do the best you can. However, keep it firmly in your mind that exam results do not define you, what you are capable of, or where you will be in the future. You have your whole life ahead of you. You are more than able to create a good life and achieve many things, no matter what results you get.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your all into it. It is always the best option to put your all into every piece of work you do. It just means not to be too hard on yourself. Do not stress yourself out with thoughts about what if or what could be, if your results are not what you expect. You tried your best, and which is all that matters.