Preparing for exams

2015-09-09 06:00

Give yourself enough time to study - donand#039;t leave it until the last minute.

Give yourself enough time to study - donand#039;t leave it until the last minute.

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TIPS to help you with studying:• Give yourself enough time to study - donand#039;t leave it until the last minute. While some pupils appear to thrive on last-minute “cramming”, itand#039;s widely accepted that this is not the best way to approach an exam. Set out a timetable for your studies. Write down how many exams you have, and when. Then organise your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.

• Organise your study space - make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Get rid of all distraction, especially computer games, and make sure you are comfortable and able to focus. For some this could be complete silence, for others, background music helps. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.

• Use flow charts and diagrams - visual aids can be very helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic, and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.

• Explain your answers to others - parents and siblings do not have to be annoying around exam time. Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them -this will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you have gaps.

• Organise study groups with friends - you may have questions they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

• Take regular breaks - while you may think itand#039;s best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps. Develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or if youand#039;re more productive at night, take a larger break earlier on so youand#039;re ready to settle down come evening. Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain.

• Snack on “brain food” - keep away from junk food. You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you donand#039;t have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus. Keep your body and brain well fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory - fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries. The same applies on exam day - eat a good meal, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy, before the test. Sugar may seem appealing, but it wonand#039;t help when your energy levels crash an hour or so later.

• Drink plenty of water - as a final tip, remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day

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