Exams are the most stressful time of year, even for the most hardworking, prepared students. With multiple exams to revise for, a hectic school schedule alongside lots of nerves and worries, the last couple of weeks can be stressful to say the least. Feeling overwhelmed is not only going to have an effect on revision sessions in the few weeks beforehand, but can even have a negative impact on exam performance overall. Here’s some helpful last-minute revision tips to help students stay calm and collected during this high-pressure time and ensure exam success!
Prioritise Your Time
In the last week before your exams, it’s a great idea to print out the syllabus for each subject, as this gives you a list of all the information you’re expected to know. Highlight each list with traffic light colours, so you can quickly see the areas you need to prioritise with the time you have left. Mark the topics that you’re confident with in green, highlight the areas you need to practice more in orange and any topics you don’t know should be red, as these are the ones you need to work on first.
Study Without Technology
Even though this may seem tough, studying without a phone, laptop or tablet nearby will really help you study. Not only will you be more able to focus on the task you’re working on without being easily distracted, but writing things down, rather than typing helps your brain process the information better.
If you have a really short time span to learn a topic, it’s a great idea to condense the most important information to one page of notes. Remember, time is precious- so don’t waste it copying out paragraphs.Instead bullet point what you need so you can digest and re-read the information easily. Depending on the subject you’re studying for will depend on the relevant information to note down, but make sure your condensed revision page includes key concepts, important dates and names, examples, evaluations and a conflicting argument.
Use Memory Tricks
Often reading through information during revision sessions isn’t enough to make it stick in your long-term memory. Even though memory tricks may seem better suited to younger students, using rhymes, mnemonics and funny anecdotes can be really helpful when it comes to remembering key facts, phrases and statistics. It’s also a quick and easy method you can master just a day or two before your exam to help jog your memory.
Review Each Subject
When you think you have spent enough time revising a subject, it’s important you allow time to review the topic to make sure you understand everything. A great way to do this is simply talking about what you’ve learnt to a friend or family member. Just 10 minutes explaining a subject aloud with no notes is a fantastic opportunity to test yourself and consolidate your revision. From here if there are areas you’re not quite sure on, you can quickly go back and review it. We guarantee it’s better to do this a few days before your exam and know what you need to go over again, rather than realising whilst you’re actually sitting it!
Take Breaks Often
We know that during the days leading up to your exams, revision is going to be priority. However, it’s important to not overdo it, as this will only cause exhaustion, stress and overload your brain which is going to reduce the quality of your work. Prioritise taking regular breaks - try 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Research has proven time and time again that doing this will mean you have a much higher chance of remembering what you’ve just been studying. We also recommend taking a few hours off to relax. Try going out for a walk, reading a book or having a chat with a friend or family member. This way when you come back to your revision you will feel refreshed and ready to go.
Complete Past Papers
Ask your teachers for some past papers and complete them under timed conditions. Not only is it a great last-minute revision activity but also gives you a chance to practice your exam techniques. Remember, exam technique can be just as important as having great subject knowledge - in fact, it can make all the difference between getting a good and great grade. Past papers also give you a rough idea in regards to the type of questions you’ll be asked, how much time you can allocate to each section and any areas you need to go back over before the real thing. For more tips to boost exam performance, check out our helpful blog post here.
Top Tip: When it comes to completing past papers, always remember to read the question carefully. If you’re struggling to understand, break the question down or come back to it later.
Don’t Panic and Stay Positive!
Although your exams are closer than ever, it’s important not to panic. In fact, simply having a positive can-do attitude will go a long way during this stressful period. Just remember you still have lots of time to digest information and you’ll probably be surprised at how much you actually know. Just try to stay calm, take deep breaths and remind yourself that it’s just an exam!