The dreaded exam season is upon us again, and all over South Africa, anxious learners are busy revising the year’s work and stressing about the year- end exams which are looming on the horizon.
Here are some handy hints and tips to get you through this stressful time!
1. Manage your time carefully
Draw up a revision schedule so that you can have enough time to revise. Sit down with your exam timetable, and make sure that you allocate enough time for revision to each subject, paying particular attention to those subjects you might be struggling with.
When managing your time, remember to also make sure that you have some leisure time to spend with friends and family. Spending time relaxing with your friends can help reduce stress, but you must make sure that you keep on top of your studies!
2. Ask for help
If you are struggling with a particular subject or topic, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember that your teacher is there to help you understand your subject. Alternatively, you may want to have a look at the internet which can help you with video tutorials.
Have a look at www.hellotutor.co.za for tutorials in Mathematics and Physical Sciences by some of South Africa’s top teachers. The Khan Academy also has some useful material, which you can find at www.khanacademy.org .
3. Practice makes perfect
Try to access copies of past examination papers so that you can exercise your skills. Your school library may have copies of past papers, but alternatively you could have a look at the Department of Basic Education website: www.thutong.doe.gov.za, which has copies of past papers, together with marking memoranda.
Using a study guide such as the Shuters Exam Notebook series can also be a great help, as they highlight problem areas, and give you practical examples and hints and tips for exam success.
4. Get enough exercise
Getting plenty of regular exercise not only helps you to keep healthy, it also has been proven to lower stress levels and leads to better sleep. Even if you are not a sportsman or sportswoman, a quick walk around the block during a study break will help you to de-stress, and clear your head.
5. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water
It is extremely tempting to keep snacking on chips, sweets and chocolates while studying, but these snacks won’t help your body in the long term. Try to eat foods that will keep you fuller for longer. Aim for a balanced diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables, and wholewheat or wholegrain bread.
Drink plenty of water. Your brain and your body need water to function properly. Make sure that you drink plenty of water while you are studying. Research carried out in the United Kingdom suggests that drinking water can help improve exam results and lower stress levels.
6. Above all, DON’T PANIC!!
Try to keep a clear head. Getting into a panic is a sure recipe for disaster when you are preparing for an exam. Try meditating for 10 minutes every morning and evening to help you relax and think clearly. If you are struggling with a particular topic, put it aside for a while, revise another subject before going back to the problem area. You may very well find that if you approach it after a break, it doesn’t seem quite so frightening after all.
If you are feeling deeply depressed and anxious at this stressful time, make an effort to seek help from a parent, teacher or counsellor. There are plenty of people out there who are willing and able to help!