So, here they are. You've been telling yourself for eight months that exams are still far away, when suddenly, your teachers start doing revision work and remind you of something you don't want to hear. It's time you prepare yourself, fight your fears and prove your worth. And I am here to help you. Just follow these simple rules and you'll be on your way to succeeding.
RULE NUMBER #1: DON'T FREAK OUT!
If it's your first time through exams it's perfectly normal to feel a bit scared, even terrified. You may've heard an awful lot of horrible stories about exams, but you should erase them from your memory - the most important thing about exams is that you stay calm. Because if you freak out you'll be too afraid to study properly and too nervous to write something you might know. Panic doesn't suit a power teenager like you, does it? To fight against your fear, you need to do a bit of mental preparation. Say firmly in front of your mirror that you can only do your best and that the worst thing that can happen to you is fail - but you'll try hard to make sure it doesn't happen. Talk to your mother and father, about how they felt when taking exams. Imagine how it will be entering into the examination class. You'll just walk inside, find a seat, get your stuff out, write your name... It's really helpful to visualise the situation. It makes you look at things with another perspective. Finally, you should get enough sleep, because not sleeping will worsen your worries.
RULE NUMBER #2: DON'T LET EXAMS STRESS YOU!
Maybe you've been through exams before, but you can't help but feel stressed. When stressed, your brain has difficulty concentrating and you might feel you can't remember a single thing. Relax. Plan your study - say, today I am looking up those nasty irregular verbs, tomorrow I am revising science e.t.c. Make sure you gather all your notes and photocopies that might be scattered all around the place. It's important though that your revision timetable is flexible and allows you to have some breaks. Every two to three hours of studying it's crucial that you take a break, have some fresh air, talk on the phone, have a snack, go for a walk e.t.c. Avoid coffee and tea, wake up early in the morning instead. That's because caffeine makes you think less clearly. After you've planned it all, you'll feel a lot more relaxed. If you still feel worried, go talk to somebody. That's why friends are for.
RULE NUMBER #3: REVISION TIME!
Many people say you should start revising in the Easter Holidays. Well, this might help, if you can resist the playful atmosphere and sit down and study, instead of spending time with your friends and family. But this is not what's most important. The thing that will prove to be the most helpful in the long run is doing your homework regularly throughout the year and paying attention in class. I am sure you've heard that before; parents, teachers relatives all telling you what you should do. Well, they are right when saying that because it does work. You just can't sit down and study for ten successive hours and learn something by heart, on the day before your exam. Studying effectively every day for a small amount of time is something possible to do though. What happens if you haven't tried hard enough during the year and exams are approaching? Well, you always have time. If you've not been studying, Easter Holidays are your only solution. Most teachers tend to drop some small hints in the last lessons of the year, especially when doing revision. Take a note of the revision questions they ask in class and study them well (they should not be the only thing you study though!). Remember my words for your next year though and start revising early!
RULE NUMBER #4: STAY AWAY FROM DISTRACTORS!
Hey, it's study time. Try to stay away from anything that might distract you. That means, no studying in front of the TV. It might have helped during the year, because it's a way to do two things at the same time, but when you have to revise loads and loads of pages, working in front of the television will make you forget what you read. You shouldn't have music on when studying, modern music, that is. On the other hand, it's been proven that listening to classic pieces, such as concerts by Mozart or Beethoven, might increase your brain's ability. Internet is a no-no too, just finish reading this page and switch off your computer, you've got work to do! Just don't overdo it. When you've finished, you can watch TV for half an hour or so, phone a friend, check your e-mail, just to reward yourself. But this should be done only after you've finished, not before.
RULE NUMBER #5: AVOID THESE BLUNDERS!
Make sure you wake up on time. Trust me, you don't want to miss your exam! Set up your mobile phone to wake you up if you generally have problems getting out of bed.
Make sure you've understood what you have to study. If in doubt, phone one of your classmates to find out. Studying the wrong things is close to not studying at all and there's no, oh I forgot.
Make sure you bring your pen, yes, the one that hasn't run out of ink, one or two sharpened pencils, your rubber, your sharpener and whatever else might be necessary, for example, for Maths you obviously need a ruler.
Make sure you inform everyone in your family of the exact dates and times of your exams. You don't want them to be planning mountain excursions one day before your History exams, now, do you? A good way to avoid such unpleasant situations is to put a large note on the fridge.
Make sure you get enough sleep, especially the night before. A good time to go to bed would 9 to 10.30. And do try to eat something before the exam. You might feel nothing can go down, but a gulp of milk and some bread is certainly going to help.
Comments? Questions? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org