This article assumes that your exam is less than a month way away, and gives you some great advice on how to handle the coming tests and what to do to make sure you do better. It is revision time, but a few of these tips may help to put things in perspective.
1 - Learn through the year and create easy reference notes
At the end of the day, this is what you should have been doing all year. If you have been sitting on ass for the last eleven months then there is very little you can achieve at this very last stage. Knowing that the game is nearly up and it is nearly time for scores is not a bad thing. If you have worked hard over the year, then now is when you get your rewarded for it. If you have sat around doing very little then this is where you get your just deserts.
Allow this information to both scare and relieve you. Know that at such a late stage the best you can do is raise your changes of a grade by half a grade. You are not going to learn all the material in a month, so feel free to be liberated by this information.
2 - Get plenty of sleep and eat well during the week before
Getting a bit of exercise is good too. Just do not overdo it and make yourself ill. You need plenty of sleep and good food because that is what is going to matter when it comes to your test. You are going to have to find a way of becoming more calm and relaxed and confident. Your attitude and your health are what are going to see you through.
3 - Practice tests as oppose to revising content
Tests are going to help you far more at this stage than any revision will. Sure, you can still do a bit of reading, but finding and doing as many tests as possible is better. When you do mark your paper yourself then you get to see where you are going right and wrong. When you do get something wrong it has a bigger impact on you. You research the answer and you remember it more thoroughly next time because it stands out to you.
You may also help your confidence by doing tests because you can see that at the very least you are going to pass the test, so all you have to do is keep doing tests. Revise the bits you get stuck on and bask in the feeling that you are going to pass your test and all will be fine.
4 - Read book chapters and make bullet point notes
If you want to hit the books then the last thing you want to do is skim read because it will fool you in to thinking you know the content. Instead you should read chapters and then write notes, but write bullet point notes. They cannot be long notes because it will take too long. Just a few bullet points per chapter is enough. You may then glance at your notes again as you finish for the night just to remind yourself of all what you have just read.
The bullet points do not even have to be descriptive. They just have to act as visual cues for you so that when you read the bullet points it reminds you of all the things you learned from that chapter.
5 - Use a stop watch so you can read and learn
This is a cute little trick where you set a clock to beep every fifteen minutes. You read for fifteen minutes and when the clock beeps you have to turn to the page you started with and state aloud all what you have just learned from your reading. You can use the text as a visual cue but you cannot start reading it again, it is just there as a cue to remind you what to talk about.
Speak aloud all of the things you have just learned from reading as if you had just heard it all at a lecture. Do this and the information will better sink in to your mind. You may also find yourself reciting things you didn’t even know you new.
6 - Turn off the radio and the TV
Just do this and stop arguing. There are literally thousands of students that are right now worrying about their exams and yet they are trying to read with the TV or music on and they claim it helps them. No it does not. What it does is provide you with noise because silent study is uncomfortable, but how do you think it will be in your exam? Added to which, there are no tests anywhere that say music and the TV doesn’t distract you (it just does).
7 - You have done the work so sit back and be confident
The work has been done through the year and you have set up a routine so that you get plenty of good food and sleep. A bit of exercise will help you too. All of this is going to help you feel better for when your test arrives. The people who are cramming late at night are not really doing themselves any favors. The best they can hope for is to raise their potential grade by a half, whilst at the same time their late nights and panic attacks are just putting more pressure on when it comes to the test time.
Come to terms with the fact that if you did the work then you will succeed. If you are able to come to terms with this, then you are going to have a far better exam, and you are going to have a better run-up to your exam. Gentle revision is okay, but worrying about it now is going to be counterproductive. Do a bit of casual reading when you get the change and re-enjoy your topics and you will be fine.
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