8 Tips for Maximising Your Exam Preparation
Wondering how to get the best marks in an exam? Studying a course to improve your career prospects can be a stressful time and good preparation is essential, so here are 8 exam tips for making the most of your exam preparation to give yourself the best chance at great test results.
Sleep Enhances Exam Results
While you may be tempted to cram everything you’re supposed to know into a few all night study sessions, depriving your body of sleep just isn’t going to cut it if you’re aiming to get the best exam results possible. Our bodies need sleep and rest to keep our brains functioning at their peak, and reading over your notes while exhausted isn’t going to give you an advantage or help you remember anything. Sleep will keep your brain fresh and active, so set yourself a schedule and get plenty of rest.
Study in Blocks & Take Breaks
Just like anything, when your brain is doing lots of hard work it needs rest to recover and stay fit and healthy. Plan study blocks where you can focus on what you need to learn, and then get up and leave the books and give your brain a rest. Figure out what works for you; whether it’s an hour study block with a 15 minute rest, or it’s a three hour study block with a half an hour rest, do what you feel comfortable with.
Connect with Fellow Students
It can be lonely feeling like you’re the only one under difficult exam pressure and battling the stresses alone. One of the best ways to ease the burden is to connect with fellow students and form a study group, or just find a study partner that you can discuss your study material with and figure out any difficulties.
Feed Your Body Well to Feed Your Brain
It’s tempting to eat fast, convenient food when you’re trying to find time to study; the problem is that it doesn’t help you to feel alert or think better. Fatty foods will leave you feeling tired and run down, exactly what you don’t want to happen during exam time. While sugar, coffee and quick snacks can feel like they help, it’s vital not to excessively consume any of these things, because they’ll quickly leave you feeling flat. Instead aim for brain friendly foods like fruits, nuts, fruit juices and even smoked salmon on crackers will help give you the nourishment and the brain boost you need. Carbohydrates will give you sustained energy for long study sessions, so try things like wholegrain breads, pastas, fruits and vegetables.
Exercise to Get Your Brain Working
Exercise is an amazing tool that’s often overlooked when things get busy. It can be tempting to cut out exercise when you’re swamped with exam pressure, but even short bursts of physical activity will give you huge benefits. If you don’t have time for an hour long visit to the gym, go for a 15 minute walk around the block or even do some stretches. Exercise has many health benefits to increase your exam success; it helps to lower stress and anxiety, lift your mood, improve energy levels and it also stimulates essential regions of the brain to help improve your memory.
Music to Help Study
Some people swear by music to help them study and others say it’s a distraction, so should you listen to music when preparing for exams? The answer is maybe. Scientific studies have showed that music that is created to connect with you emotionally and mentally can be a distraction when you are trying to learn new things. The same goes for new music that your brain wants to focus on to listen to, it can take resources away from what you want to be remembering. Familiar music that plays in the background and doesn’t require you to focus on intently can increase your brain’s activity and allow you to focus on learning new information. So whichever way you go, do what suits you.
Write things down to connect your senses
Scientists at the University of Stavanger in Norway found that writing things down by hand on paper helps our brains remember what we write, much more effectively than typing things out. The act of writing helps to send motor memory to the brain when we physically form the letters and words and process them as we write. So if you want to create stronger memories for better recall during tests and exams, then hand writing your notes may just help you improve your results.
Plan Don’t Cram Before Exams
We’re all guilty of late night cram sessions when we don’t feel ready to sit important exams, but you will retain information so much more efficiently by starting early and giving yourself plenty of time to cover all the information you need to know. Allow yourself plenty of time before your exam arrives to cover the required information and make notes and summaries of important knowledge. Not only will this give you more opportunity to go over the information, but it will give you more time to remember the things you’ve studied.