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Study Guide column: How to prepare for the tough months ahead

PUBLISHED: 11:48 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:48 07 January 2019

Former secondary school teacher Catherine Lough is advising students to get ahead of the game with summer exams months away.

Former secondary school teacher Catherine Lough is advising students to get ahead of the game with summer exams months away.

Archant

If you’re a student facing exams in the summer, preparing to revise can be overwhelming.

Students have time to get ahead of the game when it comes to their summer exams. Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA ImagesStudents have time to get ahead of the game when it comes to their summer exams. Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images

Nonetheless, there are useful strategies you can use to get ahead of the game.

Get organised

Have a separate file for each subject, along with dividers to sort notes into topics. This will make revision much easier - you don’t want to search frantically for a crumpled diagram in three months’ time.

Track your progress

Keeping notes filed will help you track your progress throughout the year. File tests or essays in order so you can see which topics you’re least confident with and plan revision more effectively. Try not to leave problem areas to the last minute – make time to see your teacher sooner rather than later to ask for help.

Draft a revision timetable

Make a timetable separating the evenings or weekends into blocks of time, setting out which topics you will cover. Avoid spending ages on this – a common procrastination tactic. Give yourself manageable goals in half-hour blocks, such as ‘learn 10 key quotations for Lady Macbeth.’ This will give you a sense of achievement and keep you motivated.

Stay healthy

Exams can be stressful, so establish a healthy routine at the beginning of the year. Sleep hygiene is particularly important – avoid drinking coffee or scrolling through your smartphone before bed. Equally, now is not the time to subsist on Pot Noodles! Eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, as well as doing some light exercise every day. A brisk walk or jog can clear your head and releases stress-busting endorphins.

Make time to relax

Don’t stress about the year; a little adrenaline near the exam is fine, but at this stage, make time to relax each day. Doing something escapist can help – you could watch an old film or read a favourite childhood novel. Don’t spend a lot of time on social media, which can exacerbate stress. Your mental health is really important - if you are feeling overwhelmed, speak to your teacher, parent or GP to get additional support.

Do:

• Get organised with a separate file for each subject

• Track your progress

• Make a revision timetable

• Stay healthy

• Make time to relax each day

• Seek help if you are feeling overly anxious

Don’t:

• Spend too much time on the presentation of revision timetables or notes

• Leave the hardest topics to the last minute

• Rely on junk food or coffee for energy

• Go online to relax

• Work for hours without taking a break

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