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. Do some 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.
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. Stay 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 social media
“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/Instagram/Twitter/TikTok 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 social media fiend.