Thursday, 20 April 2017

Exam Season Getting You Down?

So once again we're at that time of year when anyone aged 15 and up begins to really panic about exams, and why wouldn't we? Pressure comes from all sides to do well, and there's never any talk about what happens if you don't do as well as you hope. But here are a few tips on how to cut the stress and remain semi calm during the next few months.

Yes, this is an obvious step in the doing well phase of exams. However, how many of us actually revise the right way for us? Now, I won't pretend I've got this aspect of exams perfected, I am actually repeating a year of university. But one thing I learnt this year is that I revise really well when teaching my subjects to other people. So what can help your revision?

  • Write out your notes. It's been scientifically proven that physically writing your notes is a lot more beneficial than typing them! Why didn't someone tell me this 5 years ago?
  • Teach your course to a friend/pet/relative/stuffed toy. Friends and relatives can ask you questions as you go along to really test how well you know a topic.
  • Make use of any past papers you can get your hands on. Practise makes perfect and all that, so why not have a look at questions from previous exams?
  • Find a study area that works for you. Mine just so happens to be my bedroom - it's quiet but not too quiet, warm but not too warm, and close enough to the kitchen to grab a cup of tea any time I need a 5 minute break!
  • Listen to film/tv soundtracks. How many of us have the TV or music on in the background? I got to the stage during my GCSEs I knew the Lord of the Rings Trilogy off by heart I had it on that much. Soundtracks tend to be instrumental and don't intrude too much when you're focusing on learning off those definitions or dates.
  • Get rid of distractions. Not going to lie, I procrastinate like crazy when I'm meant to be revising. So much so, that I now have an app on my phone that rewards me for staying off it for a set amount of time, and I installed the Stay Focused extension onto Google Chrome so I can't go on unauthorised websites during a certain amount of time. If you'd like to know more about these, I'll be discussing them on my blog (lifewithktkinnes) in a few weeks so keep an eye out for them!

So that's all well and good for while you're actually studying, but how can you combat the stress? Read on, my dear friends!

This is a key part of combating stress, and no two people are exactly the same in what they do to destress or unwind, so once again these are merely suggestions on what you may find helpful.

  • Take a bath. Throw in your favourite bath bomb or whatever else you may fancy, and just chill. Well, don't chill, ideally your bath should be warm. But also watch out for the water being too hot! This can raise your blood pressure and that won't be good for those stress levels.
  • Colour in. Y'know those colouring books that exploded onto the market a couple of years back? Surprisingly enough, they're popular because they actually help. So break out the pens and pencils and release your inner child! And speaking of that inner child...
  • Remember when you used to jump and dance around to your favourite songs? Remember how happy that made you? Try doing it now! Close the curtains, turn off the lights, heck even close your eyes if you have to, but turn on some cheesy pop or whatever your guilty pleasure may be, and jump and dance to your heart's content! It's crazy how good dancing it out can feel.
  • Release your creativity. Whether it's blogging, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, whatever, as long as it's different from your revision it's bound to feel good! I end up cooking for anyone and everyone during exam time because it gives me a chance to experiment in the kitchen.
  • Socialise with friends and family. Go for a drink and ban all talk of exams, or head to the park on a sunny day (ha! Don't get too many of those) and bask in the sun for even just an hour. As humans, we're engineered to crave some social interaction every now and again, and there are times when Twitter just doesn't cut it.
  • Clean. It sounds ridiculous but cleaning and tidying may give you that feeling of control back, instead of feeling it slipping further and further away as you stare into your eighth cup of coffee.
  • Watch a film or an episode of your favourite show. Now, I don't mean binge watch Netflix until you've wasted several hours, but enough to relax your mind! Or if you're screaming to get away from screens, pick up whatever book is on the top of your to be read pile and make a start. I used to allow myself one chapter of my novel for every chapter of my maths I got through!

So what would you add to this list as either a helpful revision tip or an alternative way to relax? Let me know in the comments below!


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