For students, exam time often means stress, too little sleep and a less than balanced diet. Why not change all that? Here are some tips to better manage your revisions and prepare like never before!
Let’s start with a simple problem: “A student has 100 pages of course material to learn, and can work through 10 pages per day. Rather than study, our student chooses to have fun for 13 of the 20 days available to them. How can they prepare for exams in time?” We’ll find out at the end of the article, but meanwhile, here are some great tips for preparing and passing your exams.
- Go to classes and listen carefully. If you’re reading this article, this advice is probably a little late, but it is hands down the best. Oh well, let’s move on down the list.
- If you’ve skipped any classes, start by getting the course material you’re missing as well as any material from previous exams. If you don’t have all the course material, it’s not the end of the world. There are many websites that can help you fill in the gaps.
- While you’re at it, organise your course notes in an orderly fashion and force yourself to make summary sheets at least two months before your exams.
(…) draw up a revision timetable with all the subjects to be studied, leaving nothing out.
- Now that you have all the course material on hand, don’t dive head first into the first syllabus in the pile. Before anything, draw up a revision timetable with all the subjects to be studied, leaving nothing out. Refrain from allocating large chunks of time to a single subject; vary them to avoid getting tired. Your schedule should not just include brushing up on theory, but also some practical exercises. And don’t forget breaks for fresh air, running errands or checking your smartphone (which should remain out of reach the rest of the time).
- Are you ready? Now choose a quiet place for revising. This place should allow you to stay focused and be free from distractions. If you get too depressed on your own, go to the library or somewhere similar, but avoid noisy common rooms where your little brother is listening to music while your parents watch TV.
- Let’s go! When you begin to study, you may be pleasantly surprised at how familiar the course material feels. So much the better, but don’t declare victory too soon. Take nothing for granted. The key to good preparation is revising all your subjects, even those that seem easy.
- If you’re still reading these tips, it’s a good sign! Now that you’re really motivated, we want to remind you that you’re more than just a brain. You also have a body which you must look after to go the distance. Eat healthy and avoid sweets. While they may provide a quick boost, they also have a nasty tendency to produce an energy slump soon afterwards. Stick to fruit and dark chocolate. Some high-protein foods help you focus (e.g. dairy products) while foods loaded with omega-3s are good for the brain. Pair this with foods high in vitamin C for an extra boost during your revisions. Healthy eating should be combined with plenty of fresh air, physical activity and restful sleep. The latter is one of the keys to success during the revision period. You need between 7 and 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
After reading this, you might feel a little disappointed. What were you expecting, magic formulas and miracle cures? Now let’s answer our problem from earlier. Can you recall it? “A student has 100 pages of course material to learn, and can work through 10 pages per day. Rather than study, our student chooses to have fun for 13 of the 20 days available to them. How can they prepare for exams in time?”
The answer is easy: “They can’t.” So get to work, with purpose and consistency – before it’s too late!