Top Tips for Exam Season

I. have. No. Time. To. Blog.
I don’t. The time is 00:20 hours, and I have just given up studying for tonight. Anyone else feeling those exams drawing closer and threatening to suffocate you? Can you already smell the failure? You have ended up on my blog, and if you’re still reading it probably means two things: 1.) you have exams coming up preeetty soon, and 2.) you haven’t really figured out how this studying thing works, or else you’d be off a blog that has a unicorn in the header image. Just saying.

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Everyone revises for exams differently, and I highly doubt that uniquely following my lead will help you pass your finals. But the way I see it, it really helps to try out new techniques every now and again. So I’ve provided a little list of things that help me revise and actually do get me through. Just pick what you find helpful and create your own study environment!

Get dressed!
I have the tendency to stay in my PJs for entire weekends. It’s comfy but I never get much done unless you count going through an entire series of Doctor Who on Netflix an achievement. So try not to feel like a slob and put something on that you haven’t slept in recently. If you’re anything like me, you’ll go for the most comfortable thing your wardrobe has to offer, like a fresh set of pajamas. You can even leave out the bra, but dress up a little.

Eat Eat Eat!
Last month I did a sugar detox and it made me realise how very often I just leave out a meal and have a chocolate bar instead. Don’t do that while preparing for exams. Even if you’re behind schedule, take your time to have a proper breakfast. You need energy to stay focused, and studying with an empty stomach sucks.

Clean your room!
Having dirty laundry lying around on the floor and empty yoghurt cups stacking on my desk destracts me very much from studying. It’s just not a comfortable environment to work in, so before you get started clean up your mess. It also gives you a feeling of having achieved something already and that’s a motivating starter!

Have no unfinished business
What I mean is, before you get started check your social media one last time. Text your crush, post an emoticon in that group chat, go through your Instagram feed… whatever it takes to be up to date. Then turn off your notifications! Nothing groundbreaking is going to happen in the next two hours, and Facebook and co will only distract you. I missed two calls from my boss yesterday, and I assume he called because he wanted me to take more shifts over the summer. This seems fairly important, but he will understand.

But social media aside, also remember to feed your pets, pay your bills and let the cleaning lady in before you start. It’s those small chores that will distract you later when you get stuck somewhere.

Don’t let the sun come in
It’s almost summer, and that means that it’s sunny outside and warm and if you’re living next to a camping place, like me, you might be hearing lots of cheerful voices and that annoyingly feel-good latino music. And it makes you want to be out there and live! Well, you can’t. Here’s what I do: I shut the blinds to get the sun out. I then turn on the soundtrack of the 5th series from Doctor Who and pretend I’m working on a master plan to save the world. Alternatively you can also use 007-background music or whatever else catches your fancy. Believe me, it feels so good!

Believe in the magic of colours
If stationary excites you like it excites me (a helluva lot!) then buy some new, shiny sharpies and use them! I waste a lot of time drawing graphs and highlighting words very carefully, and I realise that a lot of this time could be invested otherwise – but I need that. I like my notes to not only look tidy but also pretty. Colours supposedly help your memory, so go all the way!

Don’t force yourself
Last weekend was supposed to include hours and hours of revision; but fate had it that I should wake up with a headache and sore throat that saturday morning. I ended up spending three days pretty much asleep. My health is more important than any exam! That’s your mantra! Even if you’re not sick with the flu, remember that you are allowed to take breaks. If you’re really stuck, don’t go on Youtube or Tumblr, take a conscious break – go for a walk, take a nap, even watch an episode from The Big Bang Theory; anything to relax your brain!

 Plan ahead
To-Do lists really help keeping track of what you want to and can achieve in a day. Make sure you know what you need to be prepared for, then decide what you want to study for just today!

 Decide what to study for
Ah yes, if you are anything like me you are lagging behind. I have to say, though, that I have not been massively procrastinating fort he past 3 months; but having two jobs and planning to write a theatre play and having filled my curriculum to the brim with courses, I just never had the time to get anything done properly. There is no way I will score exceedingly high points in any of the exams to come, but hope is not lost. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pick a number of subjects to really focus on and leave out the rest. That way you’ll feel more confident during the actual exam as well; better to know a few things well than know a little bit about everything.

Summarise!
Don’t just read something and go, «Yup! Got it!» Chances are, you didn’t get it. Writing things down helps your memory and makes you sort out the important facts.

You will be fine, I’m sure! Because the primary thing to remember ist hat failing an exam is not failing life! Let me tell you a little story:

Fifteen-Year-Old Me was very worried about getting into a really good high school. But because Fifteen-Year-Old Me had been to three different secondary schools within the same year, there was no way she would achieve the grades to get in. So Fifteen-Year-Old Me did another year with the bullies and hateful teachers in that silly old secondary school and decided again to try for this high school she wanted to go to. Fifteen-Year-Old Me was pretty smart, I think in retrospect, because this time ’round she made it. But instead of starting that school right that summer, Fifteen-Year-Old Me went on exchange to New Zealand, something she would not have been able to do otherwise. The friends I found I am still in touch with today. I learned English which comes like a first language to me today and has opened so many doors for me; heck, it made that blog possible in the first place! I did eventually go to that high school I’d applied for, just when a new history teacher started, who made me want to study the subject. It was the same summer Anna started her career there, as did many other lovely faces that I might not have otherwise noticed.

I failed an exam, but I won at life!

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Good luck to anyone who has exams over the next couple of months! I hope this offers a bit of help and guidance.

Lots of love from the revision pit!
xxx

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