Everyone knows the best way to ace exams is to carefully plan throughout the year, transferring each lesson or lecture onto cue cards and going over the day's work each evening.

But for those of you who prefer to kick back and relax after a day's learning, leaving your revision until the last minute (and don't worry, you're in the majority), here are some top tips on how to knuckle down and make your parents proud.

1) The Early Bird Catches The Worm

Yes, you may sigh at this over-used phrase your parents regularly fire at you but it really does work. Getting up early means you make the most of the day and, if you feel you've done enough, you can take the evening off.

2) Set Yourself Realistic Targets

Make sure to set your own targets which suit your capabilities - not your friend's. There's no point in trying to do 10 hours of revision a day if you know you won't, you'll only feel disappointed.

3) Exercise

Going for a jog - or any other exercise - is a great way to switch off and renew your energy levels. Your brain may be tired but your body probably won't be.

4) Take Regular Breaks

Experts recommend every half an hour or so. Even if it's just getting up to make a cuppa, it gives you an opportunity to re-focus.

5) Work Hard Play Hard

Ok, maybe don't play too hard, but planning to see friends or family on your breaks means you have something to look forward to and means you can reward yourself for all that hard work.

6) Steer Clear Of Caffeine...And Alcohol

If you simply can't survive without coffee, have a couple of cups in the morning and when you do get that low, refuel with high-energy foods such as nuts. A glass of wine in the evening is an acceptable way to relax but don't go out drinking - you'll only regret it the next morning.

7) Eat Well

Resist that trip to McDonald's; fast-food will only make you feel sluggish. Stock up on brain-boosting foods (see our gallery below).

8) Know Your Learning Techniques

Don't feel you have to join the revision group just because everyone else is. Some people just work better alone. And, if you're feeling nervous about the exam, hanging out with the class swot probably won't make you feel much better.

9) Keep Hydrated

We all know our brains love water. Keep a bottle of water by your desk and make sure you drink it regularly. If you get really bored, add some squash to spice things up.

10) Ban Facebook

"But why?" we hear you gasp in horror. How many times have you refreshed your homepage only to realise there's no new updates as you've been glued to Facebook for the past four hours. It's distracting and it serves no purpose. Get a (trustworthy) friend or parent to change your password and after you've finished your exams you can go back to being a Facebook fiend.


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Do you have any better revision tips? Share yours in the comments box below.

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  • Brain-Boosting Foods

  • Avocado

    Avocados are a great source of 'healthy fats' as well as a good blood circulation booster. This is important when it comes to brain power, as it enhances the blood flow to the brain, maintaining healthy brain function.

  • Oily Fish

    The essential omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like sardines, herring, trout and mackerel, as well as walnut oil and flaxseeds (linseeds) - are high in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid crucial to maintaining a healthy nervous system. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. Fish also contains iodine, which is known to improve mental clarity. For brain and heart health, eat two servings of fish weekly.

  • Whole grains

    Whole grains improve circulation and help regulate glucose levels in the blood as the steadier the glucose levels, the easier it is to concentrate. This is why it's important to eat breakfast in the morning, as it not only revs up the metabolism, but keeps your sugar levels balanced as well as protecting against diabetes and heart disease.

  • Sugar

    Sugar is the brain's preferred fuel source, however before you reach for the table sugar, it's glucose that your body needs. The body metabolises glucose from the sugars and carbohydrates in food. That's why a glass of something sweet offers a short-term boost to memory, thinking processes, and mental ability. Too much sugar on the other hand, can result in impaired memory, so go easy on the sweet stuff and consume enough to boost your brain power.

  • Caffeine

    Like sugar, caffeine perks up the brain but if you have too much, it can have negative effect on your mental state. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up feeling. But beware, the effects are short-term and if you overdo it, the brain can go into overdrive and make you more jittery than sharp thinking.

  • Nuts And Seeds

    Nuts and seeds are great sources of antioxidant vitamin E, which is associated with less cognitive decline as you age. A good intake of vitamin E is linked to preventing poor memory. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains. Pumpkin seeds are especially good for boosting brain power, as a handful a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

  • Blueberries

    Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants, which are thought to protect brain neurons from damage, build communication receptors between each brain cell, and flush out waste. They also help protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer's. Blackberries are also a great brain booster, as it contains Vitamin C which has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility.

  • Sage

    An unlikely contender, the humble sage has long had a reputation for improving memory. Although its recommended to try sage oils, try and sprinkle some sage into your diet.

  • Vitamins

    Folic acid and vitamin B12 help prevent homocysteine from building up in the body, which is higher in those with Alzheimer's. Vitamin B, C, E, beta-carotene, and magnesium are also good vitamins to stock up on when looking to boost brain power.

  • Tomato

    Tomato's contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's.

  • Broccoli

    A great source of vitamin K, broccoli which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.