10 Tips for Getting Through Exam Season

By on April 6th, 2016


It’s nearly that time of year which most students dread: exam season! Whether you’ve made your revision plan already or are desperately trying to put it off, you’ll certainly benefit from knowing a few survival tips that will bust stress, drastically improve your memory and – shock horror – even make revision more fun. What’s not to love?

Take a look at these must-know tips and feel ready to super-charge your way through exam season.

1, Make friends with your tutor.

You may find it hard to believe, but making yourself known to your tutors is one of the fastest ways to improve your performance and understanding. Hang back after a seminar to ask them questions about the source material, or see if you can stop by their office and talk about your essay strategy. Most tutors love when their students take an active interest in their course, and will only be too happy to help.

2, Get artsy.

Make your study notes more playful and easier to read by using bright colours wherever possible. This can involve coloured flashcards, labels and post-its or using crayons or felt-tips. Draw out your diagrams and tables, and don’t be afraid to create illustrations for things that need a little more explaining.

It’s also a good idea to use A3 paper over A4, so you have more space to let your mind doodles run free.

3, Remember why you’re studying.

Along the way, it helps to remember why you’re studying in the first place. Of course you want to get good grades, but you might also consider how great it can feel to master a certain subject, or the potential career paths it could lead to. Keeping your end goals in mind will remind you of the bigger picture when things get stressful.

4, Organise a study group.

Learning from your fellow students is a fantastic way to change up the revision process and get you more excited about studying. Arrange a regular time and place to host a study group and invite anybody from your course along. These sessions could be used to discuss source material (novels; articles etc), look at test papers together or simply share your study tips.

To make it even more fun, you could get everybody to bring a snack and then share a feast together (though this could get noisy if meeting in the library!)

5, Maintain a balanced diet.

It may be incredibly tempting to reach for the fast food menus, but bear in mind that what you eat will affect how you perform mentally. Try to eat a balanced diet filled with fruit, veg and whole grains, and pack in lots of ‘brain foods’ such as walnuts, salmon, leafy greens, blueberries and dark chocolate.

6, Get plenty of fresh air.

Throughout the day and also while studying if possible, be sure to get plenty of fresh air. The brain needs vitamin D to thrive, which comes primarily from sunlight. Taking regular walks outside or even studying in the local park will do wonders for your concentration.

7, Learn ‘little and often’.

Use the magical method known as spaced repetition when approaching your revision. This means studying material in short bursts rather than long stretches, and reviewing what you’ve learnt at the start of every session. This ‘little and often’ approach helps the brain to absorb knowledge with less effort and has also been scientifically proven to increase retention rate,

8, Change up your environment regularly.

Changing your study spot regularly not only keeps you from going stir-crazy, it’s also been shown to boost learning. Studying in a new environment encourages the brain to forge new associations with the same content, so forms stronger memories.

9, Get moving.

Ensuring you keep moving throughout exam season is key – it keeps blood flowing to your brain and is also a brilliant source of endorphins. Try to keep up with your normal sporting activities as best you can, or take up a new activity that you can better fit into your schedule. Gentle yoga is a great option and brings increased cognitive ability.)

10, Reward yourself.

What good is working hard if there’s not going to be something fun to look forward to afterwards? Remember to always reward yourself for reaching the end of a module or topic; completing a long study session or acing a practice paper. It could be buying yourself something you want, going out to eat at your favourite spot or hanging out with friends.

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