Examination Tips for Success
It is usually good to take some advice when planning your revision work. Planned revision, tactics for revising well, time out to rest and relax are good things to ensure examination success.
HAVE A PLAN AND WORK HARD THROUGH IT
Most things are better when they are well planned, but do not spend too much time making the plan. Look at your evenings and weekends. Look for those good chunks of time – an hour or two. Plan your revision to follow the pattern of the examination timetable. Don’t fall into the trap of revising the things you already know well, you have to plan to tackle the harder topics too. Divide all big tasks into a series of smaller ones and then take on the least pleasant ones first.
GET SOME EXERCISE – BE ACTIVE
It is good to be in a sports team and it is good to be physically busy. Twenty minutes each day would be good. It gets the blood flowing well, which a hard working brain really needs. It helps release endorphins which is our brain letting our body know that things are good. Get into a pattern, a routine while you are exercising.
KNOW HOW TO
Most people feel more anxious when they are not sure what to do, so become an expert. Know your exam timetable, what is on when, how long the paper is, how many questions. Make sure that you know from each teacher what you have to show that you can do to get those high marks and then rehearse it, learn your lines. Allow your growing expertise to replace any anxiety, and be quietly confident.
EAT A BALANCED DIET
This is always important, but particularly when we are facing challenges. We need to keep fit. So make sure you eat plenty protein, fruit and vegetables.
DO NOT USE ENERGY DRINKS. They are the wrong sugars and the high caffeine dose is not at all good for a brain that wants to work well.
As the evening gets later, then do the things that help you to wind down. Make sure that you have worked hard and that you have taken some exercise. Work out at what time you will fall asleep most easily. Six hours is your minimum. Some researchers say that teenagers need 9 hours’ sleep each night.
THE POWER OF THE POSITIVE
It is hard to be stressed when you smile so practise smiling at other people. It is good for everyone. It is hard to be stressed when we are breathing out so breathe out slowly. Six deep breaths in and slowly breathe them out. Try to keep a good perspective on yourself and on this year.
HOW TO REVISE WELL
Here are some tips in no particular order. The best way is to try them out and see which ones help you to work most effectively.
- Transformation is really good – make it into a song or bullet pointed list or a limerick or a tongue-twister, a pie-chart – changing what something looks like may well give us two ways to remember it.
- Make up an acrostic/acronym – where each point gives you a letter of a word, real or made up eg Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain – leads to ROYGBIV – which are the colours of the spectrum in the right order – Red, Orange etc. The ones that you make up are the best for your brain.
- Take the blank page challenge – revise a topic, then walk away from it, do something else. Next time you are going to revise the same topic, take a blank piece of paper and write down all that you can recall. Compare what you have written with what you need to know – see where the gaps are.
- Space it out – work on a topic for half an hour and then do something else. Go back to the topic after about half an hour and then work through it again. Take a bigger break from this topic – maybe 48 hours – and then try it again. It is an idea called optimal spacing. Work out your own best pattern.
- Turn your topic into a story and tell it to your friends or family.
- Mind maps – some learners find these really helpful in getting a whole topic onto one side of A4 – and it is very good because it is visual as well as verbal.
- When I am learning lines for a play especially Shakespeare, I have to walk around and I have to say them out loud. Revision does not have to be sitting or silent.
- What’s on the tray? The old memory game when there are a series of objects on a tray – tea towel on the top – remove it for 20 seconds – how many can you remember? Use the same visual technique with your chosen topic.
- Get on the Internet – The revision app Gojimo is excellent. Don’t forget The PiXL maths app. There is a lot more available – check in with your teachers about which are the best for each subject.
- We tend to be very good at remembering gossip and stories – so turn your revision topic into a story which you visualise, with the key points becoming characters in your story.
- Question and answer is good – work with someone else.
- Teach someone what you have just learned.
- Make it into a cartoon/collage/poster – something a bit creative can help to memorise thing