Exam time right now may seem a little strange for everyone, especially with many experiencing in-person exams for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic - we understand that lots of students will probably feel a little worried during this time. However, there are a few things you can do to look after yourself in preparation for exams so that you’re #examready. Here are 10 top tips to follow…
1. Eat healthily and drink plenty of water - Foods such as fatty fish, blueberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, oranges, eggs, and dark chocolate have been proven to boost your brain, as well as drinking green tea. Make sure you drink plenty of water too and don't overdo it with caffeine as this will affect your sleep.
2. Get plenty of sleep - Try and aim to get between six and eight hours of sleep a night. If you can't sleep, try chamomile tea, some warm milk, or a glass of cherry juice, as these drinks have been proven to naturally improve sleep. It might be tempting to pull an all-nighter to get that last-minute revision in, but it's not a good tactic. You will be able to think and perform much better after a good night's sleep.
3. Do some exercise - Exercise helps to release tension and oxygenates the brain, helping you keep calm and relaxed. Try going on a run (whilst keeping your distance of course) or doing a virtual Zumba class to get your blood pumping and to keep those stress levels at bay.
4. Take regular short breaks - Revising for hours on end and only having one short break or no breaks at all won't help you to retain the information you've revised. When taking a break, step away from your desk and go for a little walk or go grab a healthy snack. Make sure that you have a proper lunch break too and spend 30 minutes to an hour taking your lunch break.
5. Get into a routine – It can be easy to just wake up and work from your bed in your pyjamas, but it helps if you establish a routine. Try and get up at a similar time each day, get ready and have breakfast before getting your head down with studying.
6. Make sure you have a good working space – Try and avoid setting up your workspace in front of the TV on the sofa. If you can, work from a desk or table and make sure you have a comfortable chair to sit on, ideally an office-type chair. It may seem like a good idea to work from the sofa and have the TV on in the background, but it can soon get uncomfortable and distracting.
7. Be organised and aware of what you’re doing each day – At the start of each day, try and make a list of everything you’re aiming to do that day. Focus on one thing at a time and once you’ve done something, tick it off your list. This will help you to be more organised so you’ll know exactly what you’ve done each day.
8. Try some breathing exercises and relaxation techniques - When we feel stressed and anxious, this can cause us to breathe quickly and panic. Research into some breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, as these, can help you to feel calmer and less stressed.
9. Stay connected with friends and family – We’re going through a difficult time right now and although we can’t see friends and family much, it helps to regularly speak with those close to you. Arrange weekly Zoom calls with friends and family to catch up – you could even arrange study sessions with your coursemates to test each other’s understanding of the subjects.
10. Chill out at the end of the day - When you’ve finished revising, try and make sure that you switch off from work and enjoy some downtime. Put on your favourite TV show, listen to some podcasts or read a good book, whatever helps you to chill out and wind down.
Remember; when exam day arrives, make sure you've had a good night's sleep and you've eaten something before you start. Do your best to keep calm and have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. If you have any concerns about your exams, you can contact your Module Leader or SU Student Advice service. However, if your query is urgent, you can email email@example.com.
Think positive and good luck!