Many of us have occasions when we need to study for exams, often starting at school and then moving onto university and professional qualifications. Most people find them to be very stressful times.
A few helpful tips can make an enormous difference:
- Review your mental approach. Exams can be an important stepping-stone for our future choices and it's good to do our best, but know too that passing or failing doesn't define who you are. If you need to re-sit certain parts remind yourself that life's not over. Taking a little longer won't matter in the long-term.
- Use whichever method works for you. Is it writing notes, recording and playing sections back, practising papers, being quizzed? Discover your preferred way to study.
- Break studying into bite-sized chunks. Rather than attacking everything in a random way and becoming overwhelmed it's more effective to start by establishing a timetable. Study one subject in the morning, maybe another in the afternoon. Introduce variety and keep things fresh.
- Schedule time away. It's good to take a break and make the most of 15 minute interludes. Go for a walk, have a singalong, dance, be energetic. Maybe even use opportunities to study outside in the fresh air for a change. You'll find you return with refreshed energy and a clearer mind.
- Are your friends a good influence? Some people don't need to study and find exams easy. If friends are a distraction maybe take a break from them for the duration. The last thing you need are people who don't share your goals, reduce your focus or put you off.
- Talk to those closest and let them be supportive. It might be a parent, teacher, family friend, but discuss your concerns and fears with those who are on your side and let them help with reassurance, motivation or simply by listening.
- Sleep is important, so keep good discipline around bedtime. Cramming all night is exhausting and is often counter-productive. Eat, drink water and sleep. Self-care matters all the more when you're studying.
- Apprenticeships, internships and 'shop floor' entry can offer viable alternatives to exams en route to your chosen career. Working your way up whilst in employment can be an effective way to learn many relevant skills and many employers will fund your taking professional exams.
Do your best and remember, whatever happens this is one step on your journey to reaching your goals. Sometimes detours are fine and lead to unexpected, interesting places. Value each opportunity.