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With the GCSE and A-Level exams nearly upon us, students are no doubt spending as much time as possible revising their chosen subjects in order to give themselves the best chance of achieving their desired results.
However, as important as revising for your exams is, it’s crucial for students to pay attention to their health too. It’s all well and good trying to cram in as much revision as possible but if you neglect your health and get ill or become stressed out and overwhelmed you’ll be much less effective and may find that your grades suffer as a result.
It’s almost impossible to eliminate stress and nerves completely in the lead up to exams, and besides, in small doses stress can actually be useful, helping you to push yourself and do your very best. If stress gets the better of us, however, it can lead to all sorts of problems, and by not taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally during the revision period, it’s easy for this to build up.
So what can you do to combat stress, stay healthy and remain focused for your GCSE or A Level exams?
Plan in advance: A Revision timetable
If you plan your revision well in advance you are more likely to feel in control, confident and well prepared. When it comes to planning revision be thorough and map out exactly what you need to cover, allocating a certain amount of time allowance for each subject. Leaving your revision until the last minute will leave you feeling rushed and panicked; making you stressed, anxious and less likely to be able to concentrate.
Rest and Relaxation
It’s so important to get enough rest and learn how to switch off from your revision too. If you have covered what you need to cover that day then put your books away and go and relax. Do whatever you like to do to unwind be it read a good book, watch your favourite TV series or play games. If you are finding it hard to switch off you could try some mindfulness or meditation to help clear your head.
Take Regular Breaks
It’s just not healthy to revise for hours on end without giving yourself a break. Make sure that you schedule breaks into your revision timetable and don’t be tempted to skip them. You should give yourself a 10-15 minute break every 2 hours, and a proper lunch break as well. Make sure you get away from your computer screen during your break times and don’t be tempted to have a ’working lunch’ where you pour over your textbook while eating. Your brain needs breaks from revision and time to absorb the information you are feeding it, so to be at your most effective don’t skip them!
Get some Sleep
Feeling nervous about exams and stressed about revision can play havoc with your sleep patterns. Try to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep in the lead up to exams and particularly the day before. If you deprive yourself of sleep you won’t be able to concentrate or retain information as well, so it’s well worth getting those 40 winks!
Use nutrition to boost your brain power
Making sure you eat the right foods during your revision period can really help you feel energised, focused and increase your ability to absorb and retain information too. Some excellent brain foods include:
- Salmon or any oily fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
Make sure you drink plenty of water too – staying hydrated is so important!
Get Fresh Air
It’s easy, when revising, to forget what the outside world looks like! Getting out and about in the fresh air works wonders to clear your head and help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next piece of work. Don’t underestimate how much a short walk in nature can put your mind at ease.
Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy and relaxed, will relieve stress and tension and help you sleep better at night too. Don’t spend weeks on end cramped over your desk. Get moving and you’ll feel so much better and healthier too.
There is nothing more motivating than a reward at the end of the day. So make sure you reward yourself if you complete the work you set out to do. You could even try to get mum and dad on board and agree on some treats and rewards if you do well too!
If you find yourself getting really nervous before an exam, try some simple breathing exercises to calm your nerves, steady those shakes and feel like you are in control. Repeat a positive mantra under your breath, hold your head up high and walk tall as you enter the exam room – you’ve got this!
Staying fit and healthy really can help boost your revision and put you in the best position possible to ace those exams. So make sure you follow the tips above and pay attention to your health as well as your revision and we’re sure you’ll do just great!