Here are some general things to bear in mind in the lead-up to the exam period:
- ‘Process, not outcome’
A bit of nervousness around exams is a good thing: it’s an incentive to prepare well, and it sharpens your focus in the exam itself.
But if you’re feeling very anxious, it can be helpful to have as your mantra ‘process, not outcome’. That is: focus on the things you need to do right now to get your desired outcome, rather than focusing on the outcome itself.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that you have a plan for your revision, and focus on the next half-hour’s concrete task.
Getting into a good routine can be tremendously helpful for keeping anxiety at bay. Once again, this is where a Weekly Planner can help.
- Be strategic
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to learn everything, or at any rate learn everything to the same level of detail and understanding. There are likely to be trade-offs you need to make, so you need to trust yourself to revise strategically.
This is where knowing your end goal comes into play – make sure you prioritise what you’ll be tested on, and where you will pick up the most marks.
To be blunt, exams are a set of games with rules, and you want to think about how you can maximise your points haul.
Remember that you’ll be tested on what you produce in the exam, and this will be based on your understanding of the subject – you won’t be judged on whether you have a perfect set of revision notes!
- Have a plan, but be flexible
A good revision plan is your best friend. Ideally it will be realistic, and you’ll be able to stick to it.
But if something is taking longer than you thought, or something unexpected happens, you may need to adjust your plan. Consider building “time cushions” into your revision timetable to allow for this.
If you fall too far behind your original timetable, it might make sense to redraft it. Don’t beat yourself up, but try to learn from what happened that meant things slipped.
- Try to enjoy it!
Odd and slightly masochistic though it may sound, there’s often a positive buzz around College as everyone gets their exam heads on, enjoys afternoon tea each day, and as you all work together and support each other. And it can also be satisfying to discover how your understanding of a subject has grown, and how different topics hang together.
And, of course, there is a clear end in sight 😊
Good luck! And don’t hesitate to get in touch if it would be helpful to chat about any aspect of this.