Hi everyone! Welcome back to A Teen Called Tara, or hello if you’re new. It’s Monday once again, which means a new wave of homework coming in, as well as some last minute Christmas concert rehearsals jammed into the schedule. I hope your week is off to a good start!
Today, we’re going to be talking about how to keep your cool during exam season. I have some tips to help you best manage your time, and also some reminders to take care of yourself and your mind during this frantic time. Let’s get started!
1. Schedule your revision. It seems obvious, yet almost everyone I know neglects to do it. We forget how busy we are, and we get distracted by our phones or other assignments, and soon enough it’s the night before the test and nothing has been done. Not anymore!
Something I like to do is to break down tasks. When you turn one big assignment into smaller, more manageable pieces, it’s not so daunting. For example, say you have a maths test to revise for. You can firstly break down your revision by chapter – maybe you have a trigonometry chapter, and one for surds, and another for sectors, or whatever. Then, analyse what you have to do for each different topic. Flashcards, practice questions, note-taking, etc. Finish off with some practice papers to consolidate and you’ll be good to go.
Breaking things down also allows you to schedule your revision more easily. Rather than just setting aside two hours for “maths revision”, you can pinpoint exactly what you’re going to do in those two hours, making much more efficient use of your time. For example, on Monday you’ll look over trig notes, watch a video on that one formula you’re unsure of, and do some practice questions on page 63 of your textbook.
Be sure to revisit areas you’ve covered, so you don’t forget them completely. Following the example above, you might want to have a quick 15 minute reminder on Thursday of that trig, just to consolidate.
2. Have something to look forward to. It’s really important that whilst you’re spending all of this time studying, you give yourself some motivation. Having something enjoyable to do at the end of each day can really keep you going!
Maybe you’re going to allow yourself to watch an episode of your favourite TV show for half an hour every evening. Maybe you’re looking forward to catching up with your family at dinner. Maybe you have something exciting at the end of the week that you’re happy about. Whatever it is, remind yourself when things get tough that you have something good to look forward to, and hopefully it’ll motivate you to keep going.
Even if it’s nothing in the near future, you can still have targets to help get you through exams. Maybe you’re hyped about your birthday in a couple of months, or maybe you’re just sticking with it so you can outlive Donald Trump!! (I am, anyway.) Just keep going, because I know you’ve got this and you’re gonna smash it.
3. Make time to look after yourself. When you’re so busy with revision, you seem to become a second priority, with your schoolwork taking first place. At least that’s how it works for me, anyway. It’s crucial that you still keep in the habit of self-care and that you don’t let yourself become an afterthought.
During exam season, I just chug coffee and I’m good to go. It keeps me awake and alert. But all of this caffeine is really not good for me, and yet I still rely on it! I also end up staying up later than I probably should – sometimes until two or three in the morning just to finish schoolwork. Yet if I have an exam the next day, only giving myself a few hours of sleep is definitely not the best idea.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep – however much you need is up to you. Don’t rely on coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake – water is always the best option. Ensure you’re still keeping a relatively balanced diet and not only surviving on pancakes (another thing I’m guilty of…) 👍
4. Don’t sacrifice your mental health. If there’s one thing that I’m guilty of, it’s letting my mental health completely disintegrate during exam season. The number of times I burn myself out and end up having a complete mental breakdown is almost embarrassing, so that’s why we all need to take steps to try and avoid that.
Here’s the thing: it’s okay to give yourself some time to breathe. And it’s okay to cancel plans during exam season if you need to. I always overbook myself and then realize that doing all of these things is just going to stress me out further, when I could be at home preparing or just spending time with myself.
There’s no one way to keeping a good mindset throughout a tough time like this, but if you make an effort to look out for yourself then things will become easier. When you start to feel yourself stressing or panicking, call or talk to someone who will be able to help you. Never suffer in silence – you have a support system for a reason!
I’d like to add here that if you’re ever in need of advice, reassurance, or just a friend to talk to, I’m more than happy to be that person. DM me on Twitter or Instagram, or go to my contact page to talk to me. I’m always here to help ❤
5. Don’t overthink the actual exam. Trust me, I do it every time. But you’re prepared. You got this. There is genuinely nothing to worry about. Here are a few simple ideas if you’re feeling stressed right before an exam:
- Arrive in good time. There’s nothing worse than hurrying in late and having to go straight into the exam still out of breath. Give yourself enough time – you’ll be grateful in the end.
- Come prepared. You really don’t want to be scrambling around at the last second for a pencil or a ruler, so gather everything you’ll need the night before.
- Don’t worry. I, of all people, have no right to be saying this, as I worry about EVERYTHING. But if you let the nerves get to you, you’ll perform far worse than you will if you approach the exam with confidence in yourself. You’re as prepared as you can be – now all that’s left is to show how good you are.
- Keep an eye on the clock. I’m bad for this, too. But you know how long your exam is, so allocate enough time for each question. Don’t dither on one if you’re stuck, either. Move on and revisit it later. You don’t want to get bogged down and end up running out of time.
Above all else, try your very best. That’s all you can do. I’m super proud of y’all and I know that even if your results aren’t what you were hoping for, there’s still time to improve and grow. A bad grade isn’t the end of the world. You’re still an awesome person, regardless!
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you’ve enjoyed. Let me know in the comments if you’ve just had exams, or not (or maybe you’ve left school – in which case I’m super jealous!).
Have a beautiful Monday, and I’ll see you all again tomorrow 💞