Rituals That’ll Keep You Right & Help You Sleep At Night: How To Prepare For Exam Season

RSweaty palms, heart racing, anxiety festering in the pit of your stomach and a wad of paper in front of you. In a couple hours time that paper will be covered in words, your hand will be aching but you’ll have a huge sigh of relief, that is, until the next exam comes around…

Exam season can be an extremely stressful time for students. All of this year’s lectures and relentless hours of revision boil down to an exam. It is a huge amount of pressure and it sometimes pushes people to the point of a breakdown. So, how can you make this year’s exams less traumatic?

Bang, The Race Has Begun

I often think that you should treat exam season like a 400m race. Sprint at the start and you’ll burn out but don’t put in any effort and it’ll be impossible to make up the distance. If you leave revision to the last minute you’ll be faced with a huge volume of work that is simply impossible to get through; this will be beyond stressful. However, if you cram all your revision early then you’ll risk learning everything too quick and forgetting it by the time your exam comes around. 

So, what should you do? Try to set yourself goals. If you work out how much you need to learn and how long you think this should take, then you can create a plan and set yourself targets. Make sure you allocate yourself plenty of breaks and the odd day off though. You’ll be far more productive if you do revision little and often. 

You also need to think about a few lifestyle changes. For University students, it is easy to sleep in until 1 PM and stay up until 4 AM. However, when exam season is looming it is important to get into a good routine. Try setting your alarm for 8:30 AM and aim to have had breakfast by 9:30 AM. That way, you can start work by 10 AM and get a solid three hours work before an hour out for lunch and five hours before dinner. That’s eight hours work and if you do that for a month you’ll be ready and raring to go.

The Final 100m

Ok, so you’ve paced yourself well, you’re feeling confident and well prepared but it’s the night before your exam. Time for that final push, right? Wrong. So many students feel that the night before an exam is for last minute cramming, but realistically there’s very little you can learn 24 hours before your exam, especially when you’re likely feeling flustered about tomorrow. In reality, you’re more likely to stress yourself out more. 

The best thing you can do the night before is have a good meal, plenty of water, and chill out. Either put a film on or have a nice bath. Oh, and candles are great for creating a relaxing vibe! Make sure to get a fairly early night and if you really want to go over your notes, do so but whilst having good breakfast (bananas are proven to get your brain working so if you can stomach one, it could do wonders). Leave at least half an hour before your exam so you don’t risk being late and try to avoid talking to people outside as they’ll probably just say what they’ve learnt (this will no doubt worry you that you haven’t revised enough.)

So there you have it. Just take it 10M at a time and before you know it, you’ll be flying through to that finish line.

Carys Reid-Davies

Image: ACE Fitness