As young people across Birmingham sit important exams, Dr Sandra Passmore, an Education Adviser for the Health Education Service, has some handy tips to survive revision and exam days.
Before major sporting events such as Olympics, athletes train hard but they are also careful to rest their bodies so they hit peak fitness on the day of the key events.
Preparing your mind for GCSEs and other exams is the same. So here are a few tips to help you hit the ground running.
- Have a revision plan
It may sound obvious but planning can make a huge difference and make sure you revise the subjects/topics you don’t like as well as the ones that you do like. The annoying thing about knowledge is that it’s all tightly rolled up inside your head; you can’t just spread it out on the floor, like a rug, and see where the gaps and threadbare bits are. In terms of revision, however, your job is to try to achieve this overall picture, to identify not just what you do know, but what you don’t.
Nothing can relax your mind better than a good night’s sleep. Sleep can make your memory function better, as it helps to boost long-term memory. Avoid studying late in the night. Not getting enough sleep make sure more likely to be anxious and stressed and cannot perform well in exams. Teenagers need 8-10 hours sleep a night – make sure you get this.
- Eat Breakfast
Meet breakfast, your new study buddy. While much is said about the reasons to eat breakfast, less known are the best ways to eat smart in the morning. Coffee and a doughnut just don’t do the trick. So, a bowl of cereal with milk or toast and glass of milk or fruit juice. Try these healthy breakfasts (for people who hate breakfast) http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/Healthybreakfasts.aspx
- Take regular breaks
It is very important to make a study plan before your exams start. In this plan, include small breaks after every study session. For instance, take a break of ten minutes after studying for an hour. This break can be used to spend some time with your family, eat, watch television or just to chat with friends. These breaks rejuvenate the mind and prepare you mentally and physically for the next round of studying
- Go outside
Get some fresh air Get regular exercise. It may not be possible to go to the gym when you are busy studying. However, you should take out half an hour a day to keep yourself fit. Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that exercise acts as a stress buster by releasing endorphins in the body. So, whenever you get sick of studying, take a small exercise break and rejuvenate your body and mind
- Remember to breathe
When you get panicked or too stressed just sit down and take six deep breaths in through the nose (both nostrils) and out through the mouth. Imagine you’re inhaling knowledge and expelling doubt. Then pick up your pen and make your parents and yourself proud.
- Eat at regular intervals
Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable, curbing the temptation of empty-calorie snacks in the vending machine.
- Be nice – to yourself, your parents and your friends
Keep in touch with friends (but not to compete about how much revision you’ve done). Don’t isolate yourself as this will add to your anxiety. Remember that it is just an exam. Life still goes on no matter how well or badly you do.
- Drink lots of water
Drinking water is very important for maintaining your body’s equilibrium.. Water not only keeps you mind and body healthy! Try to consume a minimum of eight glasses of water every day
- Say no to caffeine and alcohol
Many students drink huge quantities of coffee to stay awake at night, but the caffeine present in coffee increases stress. Avoid caffeine, especially at night. Similarly, alcohol has a negative effect on the physical functioning of the body, and it makes you sleepy.