Sky Learning's Top Ten Tips for Avoiding Exam Stress
Coursework and exams can be stressful, so Sky Learning and Phil Beadle, the Teacher of the Year 2004 are easing the pain with Top Ten Tips for exam planning and preparation that will help you relax and get better marks! Check out www.sky.com/learning for the rest of the tips and to find out how else it can support study.
1. Get together a revision timetable on the first day of study leave.
Just do it. Don't argue. Don’t procrastinate. Just do the thing. And do it first. Do it on the first day, and once you’ve done it, agree it with your parents. There is a reason for this…
If you get your parents to agree to the schedule, you can write break/relaxation periods into it. You can explain to your parents that you need all day off on Saturday and Wednesday evenings too. They'll be so chuffed that you’ve got a revision schedule together they’ll agree to anything. Another advantage is that when you are taking a timetabled relaxation/rest break and they go, "What do you think you’re doing watching the telly? Haven’t you got revision to do?" You can point at the timetabled break session on your revision timetable, raise your eyebrows and give them a smug smile. They will back down and you will have won.
2. Revise the subjects you hate in the morning
Think of double maths, RE – whatever it is you hate. Now think of doing this for the first two lessons in the morning. Yeuch! There’s worse though! Think of doing it last two lessons on a Friday afternoon as you gaze at the minute hand of the clock as it stubbornly refuses to move. Beyond double yeuch!!
It is easier to stomach the stuff you don’t much like in the morning. Successful people in all walks of life attribute their success to one simple technique: if you have a set of jobs to do, you do the most difficult thing, the thing you hate, first. This means when you’ve just got up. Don’t save up the stuff you hate. It’ll haunt you if you do, and make your life miserable.
3. Reading is useless
You can't do decent revision through sitting with a boring textbook willing the information to go into your head. It will sit stubbornly, remaining in the textbook, refusing to make the jump into your bonce.
You have to do something with the information. Take notes, underline stuff, invest in a set of highlighters and colour code everything that moves, do drawings and put pieces of information into table form. If you do something with the information it will stay in your head way better than if you just sat there reading.
4. Manage your time properly in the exam
This is the most vital of all techniques. The nasty spinsters who sit in drafty attics devising fresh new exam tortures are nothing if not clever. They have loads of different ways of tripping you up. The one they use most often is to make you spend way too much time on the first question. Be wary of this! Many very clever students blow their chances by spending an hour on the first question when it is only worth two marks.
Make sure you spend the most time on the questions that have the most marks. Often these are the last ones, and there is a very solid argument for looking at the paper first, seeing which questions carry the fat marks, and doing these first.
5. Take your time
When the examiner says, "You may turn your papers over now," everyone else in the room will try and do so at the pace an Olympic sprinter leaves the blocks. Don’t do this. It puts you in a stressful state right at the beginning, and saves you exactly 0.41 seconds, (which is a useless amount of time to save). When the examiner says to turn your paper over, don’t. Take a breath, count to ten, then do it. You are the one in control of your destiny. Stay calm and focused.
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