Life made simple

Swot up on good-sense with these exam tips.


Some solid advice and exam study tips on how to reduce exam time stress.

Wouldn’t you love to wave a magic wand and relive the best years of your student life? Okay. But they’ll come with a side order of year-end exams. Still want them back? Maybe not.

November means the looming stress of year-end exams. The days leading up to exams can be anxiety-filled, with swot timetables going up on bedroom walls, followed by long hours of late night revision and cramming. So what’s important to remember during exams – apart from the contents of all those textbooks? If you’re in an ‘exam family’, here are some tips to help your poor, stressed swotter.

Try to create a calm atmosphere and make your home a quiet, comfortable place to study. Right now, whoever’s writing exams needs care and consideration.

Use a comfortable seat with back support, at a desk or table. Some students swear they can study sitting on their beds or on a sofa. Maybe you can, but don’t kid yourself that the cosy “curled up under the duvet” position is the right study spot.

Keep your study area neat and distraction-free. Switch cellphones and other gadgets to silent, and put them out of arm’s reach. Stay offline, and sign out of your social media accounts.

The right nutrition is very important. Start with a good breakfast, (no sugary ‘junk’ cereals!) and avoid filling up on fast food or too many white, processed carbs and sugar. The short energy spike isn’t worth the crash.

Stay offline, and sign out of your social media accounts.

Stick with low GI wholegrain bread, plus enough daily protein, veggies and fresh fruit. And don’t eat where you study – get a change of scenery for meal breaks, even if it’s a different room.

Avoid using unnatural stimulants like pills, energy drinks or excessive caffeine to stay awake longer. The short and long term ‘crash’ effect means you’ll only lose study time when the fatigue catches up with you.

Lighting is important. Natural light is often better for reading, but avoid direct sunlight. In the evening, have a well-lit study area, but avoid harsh lighting that can cause eyestrain. Adjust computer screen brightness to a comfortable level.

Get some exercise and some sunlight. Go for a good walk or quick jog in the morning or early evening – just enough to get you energized, but not tired.

Stand up and stretch. Take a 5 – 10 minute stretch break from the books every 40 minutes. Walk about, drink some water or tea, get out of the room for a few minutes and chat to someone. Treat yourself to some refreshment and relaxation after several hours of studying, whether it’s a hot bath or cool shower, some good music or a call to a friend.

And remember, keep things in perspective. It may be tough and tedious, but exams will end, and things will return to normal. Deep breaths – and good luck!


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