The first thing to remember about exams is this: They are not the most important thing in the universe. While they may help you get a place at college or university, the world isn’t going to end if you don’t make the grade (even if it feels like it might). A bad mark doesn’t guarantee a life of low expectations, just as a string of A*s won’t ensure a high-flying future.
Having said that, exams are one of those things that can help you get where you want to go, so there’s every reason to give ‘em your best shot. We get this is easier said than done when teachers, family and friends are heaping on the pressure, but hear us out.
It’s currently World Health Day, and one of the biggest issues among teens is mental health – things like stress and anxiety – which can worsen when confronted with a heavy exam schedule. With this in mind, we’ve put together a stress-busting guide to exam preparation that will hopefully ease the pressure of this tricky period.
If you’re anxious about this summer, read on.
According to the mental health charity Mind, organisation is key. If you prepare yourself from an early stage, you’re going to be cooler than a chilled tub of tzatziki by the time your first exam comes around.
- To start, check out your exam schedule. It’s best to revise in the order you’re sitting your subjects.
- Next, figure out how you’ll be examined – is it a written test? Do you get a calculator? Will you have to talk about your recent trip to the bibliothèque out loud? Once you know, grab a hold of some past papers from your teacher. These will give you an idea of the exam’s structure.
- Lastly, do this…
Make a Revision Timetable
Cramming at the last minute will make your stress go through the roof, so save yourself the #struggle and spread it out over months. We can’t tell you how long to revise each day, but we will say this:
- Set aside a time to revise. Whether it’s an hour, two hours, or twenty minutes, just make sure you do it. A lot of people think the morning’s better as you have the rest of the day for yourself once it’s done, and we’re prone to agree.
- Stay active. Not like ‘do star jumps every 15 minutes’ active, but make notes, highlight passages, recite stuff out loud. Anything more than just reading the same thing over and over will help it stay in your head.
- Take breaks. Give yourself the weekend off.
Super Sisters Says Relax
Even if you create a revision timetable and stick to it, you can still feel stressed. Exams are a lot of pressure, so there’s no shame in worrying about them even if you revise every day from Easter Sunday onwards. As Mind says, it’s important to take time to relax.
- Do not study all day. Take breaks, go for a walk, drink a smoothie. It’s important to switch off every so often, as it will make it far easier to switch on when exams begin.
- Make time for friends and family. When you’re feeling low, they’ll be able to give you the boost you need.
- Stay healthy. Eating well, sleeping properly and exercising regularly will not only make you feel good physically, they can go some way to tackling stress.
- Be confident. If you’ve studied hard, there’s no reason why you won’t smash your exams.
It’s important to note that everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for you. These tips are a guide, not a slam-dunk cheat sheet for success. However, there are very few people out there who’d argue that last-minute cramming, junk food and a 3am bedtime will help you tackle exam stress….so it’s best to remember some of the above.
And if all still feels hopeless, look back to what we said at the start. Exams do not define you as a person. Ten years from now, you’re not going to kick yourself over the C you got in Maths GCSE, because there’s a high chance you will have still turned out to be an awesome, successful, whole person in spite of it.