Published 26 April 2022
A little prior planning and strategy for those summer exams really can help you achieve success and cut down on those nerves and stress levels. Have a read through my 10 tips on revision and exam planning to help keep you on track and well prepared for the summer exam season
Plan ahead to avoid stress
By now, you will have your summer exam timetable- make sure you know EXACTLY when your first exam is - the time, venue, how long it will be and what you will need e.g. calculator and other exam tools. Leave plenty of time to get to the exam venue - drink lots of water as this helps to keep the brain functioning at optimum capacity.
Know what the exam requirements are
Go over your revision notes - make sure you have covered everything you need to know in the syllabus - focus on your strengths - if there is a topic that you keep struggling with and the exam is a week away - maybe you should focus on the topics you feel confident about and stop worrying about what you cannot grasp or have not had time to cover thoroughly - you do not need 100% to get a good grade! Different exam boards don't always have the same topics so if you are in doubt - check with your teacher which topics you are going to be tested on - knowledge is power - you more prepared you are with all the information - the more control you have during the exam.
Use your time strategically
You do not have to answer all the questions chronologically- it makes sense to prioritise those questions you can answer easily - it will help to calm your nerves you that you have got something down and get you focused for the more challenging questions. When you have done all the questions you find easiest - move on to those which you find next easiest and so on - leave the most challenging questions until the end - if you can't do them you know at least you have done your best on the paper. ALWAYS leave 5 minutes at the end of the exam to read through your answers - I promise you it will pay off - we all make silly mistakes under pressure - don't lose valuable marks through silly errors.
Maths is all about formulas -
Make sure you know them as there are very few formulas included in the papers today- ask your teacher which formulas will be included and make sure you now how to use them. Why not make some flash cards with all the formulas written on each card - get a friend to test you e.g. What is the formula for the Sine rule or the Cosine rule?
Revising before the exam
Short sessions of 45 minutes is best and take regular breaks - don't sit there for 8 hours trying to cram it all in - it won't work - the brain works at it's optimum with frequent rest - keep hydrated, eat and relax. However, we are all different when it comes to choosing the time to revise; some of us are larks and work best early in the morning; some of us are owls and work best in the evening - find out what works for you. best. Of course, we cannot choose the exam time - but few of us are lucky enough to work only at those times to suit us - but when we can choose - optimise those times.
Test out your teaching skills
An excellent way to check your understanding of a subject is to try to teach it to someone else- preferably someone who does not know the subject very well- see how well they understood what you are saying - they might also give you some feedback on how you could explain it better as well as highlighting for you areas where your understanding and knowledge is thin on the ground. You might also like to work with a bunch of friends who are doing the same course and help each other on various topics - see what works for you.
Look at past papers
Past papers in a subject are invaluable to give you practice before the exam- it gives you an idea of the type and style of the questions - how many questions - how long the exam is and how well you are completing the paper in the time set. By now, you would have completed those mock exams which is for your benefit - it gives you a good indication of your strengths and weaknesses - whether it's specific topics, time management or just not reading the question properly - a common error. Work on those areas where you could have doe better in your mocks.
Turn off your phone and other media
Today there are so many distractions on your phone that it is easy to get carried away and realise after an hour - you have done no revision but spent the whole hour chatting to friends on social media - that really cannot be so important that it can't wait until you have finished your revision. Be disciplined - if necessary tell your friends you are revising - they probably are too and so will understand. If you are watching a video for your course on You Tube or another platform - make sure you just watch those videos relevant to your revision - don't get distracted!
Ask for help
You don't have to do it all yourself - you may have up to 16 exams to sit - it can be stressful - there is always someone to help if you ask - a friend or relative, your teacher or even a professional. Sometimes - just aa little reassurance you are on the right lines maybe all you need.
Don't forget to reward yourself
Give yourself regular little treats for all your hard work - Whatever it is - it will keep you motivated - Good luck!