‘Tis the season of exams!

For many, the experience of entering an examination hall, locating a desk by candidate number or name and taking a seat to tackle a blank booklet and unknown questions evokes daunting feelings of mild panic and sweaty palms. One would think the anxiety would lessen as you climb the academic ladder, but for some, it only gets worse. With exams often constituting a large part of overall academic assessment, the only way to conquer the fear of exams is to prepare yourself adequately for them. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Study Timetable

Planning when and what to revise takes a bit of effort and establishing a schedule of your revision material is a great place to start. Set yourself a realistic and achievable timeline to cover the necessary material, outlining daily goals. With a schedule in place, it will be easier to breakdown your revision topics and assess your progress. While working styles and commitments differ, a daily planner will help you establish a routine for your day and compel you to prioritise your revision, with little room for procrastination. Allow for flexibility though, plans can change but having one will keep you in line.

2. Unplug

How often do you turn to your phone for the latest tweet, to check a notification or just simply to look procrastinate? As you prepare for exams, every minute counts and you cannot afford to spend two hours on YouTube watching babies squirming as they bite into a lemon wedge for the first time. Eliminating distractions is hard! Most of us struggle with self-discipline when it comes to social media and will need to uninstall our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat apps during exam season. And, if you really cannot unplug completely for a few weeks, allocate yourself time to catch up with your friends’ stories on the revision schedule, so that you keep account of how much time you are spending on social media.

3. Take care of yourself

The temptation to live on fast food, energy drinks and coffee during exam season is understandable because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to make a wholesome meal. However, its equally important to consider what you are consuming as much as what you’re reading as eating well and drinking lots of water will keep you energetic and refreshed. Take a walk to the park during one of your study breaks and just clear your mind with a change of scenery. And while you may be inclined to pull a few all-nighters, get some sleep and allow your body to rest well.

4. Teamwork

‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.’ You can cover a great deal by reading alone, but having a group of mates to study with will help you cover more topics and give you new insights into a topic that you may have overlooked or would have simply never considered. This is not to say you ought to substitute your own reading time for group sessions, rather strike a balance between the two and ensure that you’re reading enough to contribute to the study group. Use the group as a place to bounce off ideas and seek help when you’re stuck on alternative opinions on a topic.

Ultimately, doing well in your exams is a careful balance of a number of skills: being intentional and productive with your time, staying focused and through taking care of yourself throughout this stressful period.

All the best!

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