GCSE exam season is upon us once again which can often be overwhelming, causing a great amount of pressure and concern for those sitting multiple exams. With a record number of students aged 16-18 seeking help regarding anxiety in the run up to exam week last year , I've collated my top tips for getting through those dreaded exams.
After all, we can all relate to that feeling of not knowing where to start with revision and then coming out of an exam wondering if you gave the right answers.
Create a revision plan
Make sure you know the dates and time of your exams well in advance so you can plan your revision accordingly - this will help you balance schoolwork, revision and also leisure time which is important. It isn't wise to force a months' worth of exam revision in the night before an exam, so creating a plan ensures you leave enough time for each subject in order to feel well prepared and relaxed for exam day.
Give yourself variety
Adapting one revision technique can be an easy routine to fall into and eventually the brain gets familiar to this way of learning, making it less effective. Try switching up your revision techniques by creating mind maps, flash cards and listening to podcasts to allow your brain to absorb the maximum amount of information. Many students find it useful to create mnemonics to help them remember key facts and statistics that are vital for answering exam questions as well as using phrases and songs to make information more memorable.
Practise, practise, practise
Sourcing and completing past papers ahead of your exam is a great way of learning exam format, question style and how to write under pressure. Completing practise papers ensures you know exactly what to expect on the day and therefore can plan your time accordingly. It is a good idea to know exactly how long you should spend on each question, leaving yourself enough time to check over your answers. Also, keep an open mind when reading through your exam, you've might have seen the questions before, just in a different context.
Reward yourself with regular breaks
It has long been proven that regular breaks during revision improves the brains digestion of important information and boosts performance in the long run. Research shows that 30-40-minute revision periods work the most effectively, as this is when your concentration is at its highest. Can you fill your break time with something that you really enjoy? Finding "Me" time during the revision process keeps your mind fresh and ready to learn, so put down the past paper and play your favourite sport, watch some television or even tidy your bedroom in break periods.
It's important to stay fuelled both throughout revision and on exam day to keep you feeling alert and focused on the task ahead. Avoid high-carb, sugary foods and instead fill your diet with "brain foods" like wholegrains, fish and blueberries. Staying hydrated is also key to performing well on exam day - be sure to take a water bottle into the exam with you and avoid beverages containing caffeine such as coffee and energy drinks.
The night before the exam make sure you know where the room is and have all your equipment packed and ready. It's recommended that you get around 8-9 hours' sleep for you to perform at your best. There are bound to be some nerves on exam day, we're all human. The most important thing to understand is how to manage those nerves and channel them into positive energy.