Excel In Exams Blog

Exams: How to cope, one day at a time…

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 20.17.28Well, most of you will have started your exams. Some of you may even be close to finishing!  However, what you want to do is to pace yourself. 

I have been advising students to have a detailed preparation plan for the entire exam period, but then to pull right back and focus on each day at a time.  There is no point looking too far up at the mountain and feeling overwhelmed; instead, take reassurance from the fact that you have a plan for each and every exam and then re-focus back on the preparation for that day – if not for that half-day.  We build resilience when we make small, short term goals – daily goals that keep our attention on the process of preparation and recovery for that day, rather than sliding into a panic.  “Everything is do-able” is my mantra for this time of the year – and ensure that you have a plan that enables that to happen!

Exercise and effective recovery is, as ever, crucial to staying fresh and energised, along with keeping an eye on your eating and drinking habits.  A dehydrated brain isn’t going to help you – nor is a brain that is feeling the after-effects of a sugar high.  Steady, quality nutrition throughout the day with plenty of water, especially if you happen to indulge in the odd coffee to help your concentration.  Then, get to bed at a reasonable hour for some decent sleep, reflecting on your achievements that day – thinking about what you have learned (not what you have yet to learn!) and how good it feels to know it.

Half-term is not going to be a holiday for many of you.  Again, plan out your time and allocate at least a full day per week to absolutely no study at all – as well as scheduling in your exercise and recovery for each day.  Hopefully, you will have done your summary posters and notes for your post half-term exams a while ago, so half-term is going to be about revisiting those posters; learning the information; doing practice questions and then practice papers, to ensure you have your timings right.  Remember that the Examiners’ Reports can be pretty handy too.  You can find those on the relevant exam board website.

You’re there!  This is what all the anticipation and preparation is for, so give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your best possible grades.  Keep up your high performance routine of study, exercise, good nutrition and sleep; stay focussed on one day at a time and give yourself the reassurance that you have a plan in place for the rest of the days.  Good luck, happy hunting and see you on the other side!


This entry was posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2016 at 8:23 pm and is filed under A Level, Exam Nerves, Exam Tips, GCSE, Goal Setting, Revision Tips, Stress & Anxiety, Teenagers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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