If I told you that exams are easy, what would you say? I haven’t met too many people who agree with this initially. However, with the correct preparation, YOU can pass ANY exam and get any grade that you want.
Preparation comes in various forms. Everyone assumes this just means revision, revision and more revision a few weeks before an exam. And it does to an extent, but it starts a long time before this.
Get In The Right Habits Early
When you start your studying and how you study is the secret. If you start early enough, then all that nasty pressure and anxiety people feel when revising will just evaporate. The hard work starts as soon as the term or semester begins. A lot of people (particularly at University) will do no work until those few weeks before the exam. This is crazy and causes a lot of stress, which ultimately affects exam performance.
Instead, if you simply read over what you have done when you come in from school each night and do your homework and spend a little time understanding a topic, you will put yourself in a great position. It’s all about understanding the concepts.
Establish a Study Routine
The next step is to dedicate a little bit more time to a subject than you normally would, just an extra 30 minutes every day or every second day, will result in improvement.
If you get into this study routine, then you will be on top of all your subjects long before any exam approaches. This gives you confidence; it means you are prepared, and it will drastically reduce any revision stress a few weeks before an exam. This can only be good for you! This alone will result in better exam performance.
One distinction that needs to be made is that studying throughout the year is different from revising before an exam.
When it comes to the revision time you need to be patient, determined and focused. Five, six seven or however many hours you revise for each day will get boring, everyone feels it. It can lead to stress, and our aim is to reduce any stress and maximise the quality of your preparation.
When revising a routine is also important, some people make timetables up, which is a good start. It is also good to mix it up again from time to time; otherwise, you will become too comfortable. Chop and change subjects, spend a little time on one topic then go on to something else. If you feel tired one day, have a rest! Don’t feel you have to stick to the timetable. On another day, you might feel like you can do more, so listen to your body and your mind.
Allow Yourself To Rest
One thing that is important is rest. This myth about studying through the night. Forget it now! You need to rest. This is possibly the most vital thing there is. If you allow enough time, then there is no need to study through the night. If you haven’t left enough time, then it is your motivation and discipline that is the problem, not your revision.
After a hard day’s studying, go and do your normal hobbies, forget exams for a while. Even during your days of revision, have a long break for lunch, go and do something else for an hour or two.
Mindset is Key
There isn’t enough time here to go into mindset or study techniques; those are the other key components that make up your exam performance. But I personally believe that the mindset is the most important thing you must get correct. This goes way back to the start of the year. Are you motivated and disciplined and even wise enough to see the bigger picture and that regular study sessions will help you massively?
Another key point, everyone gets nervous before an exam, and it’s perfectly normal! Nerves are good actually as it shows you care and that you are in the right “zone”. If you go into anything important feeling chilled out, then something is wrong. But the important distinction here briefly is not to go into the exam dreading it or being scared. This WILL cause you to perform poorly, no matter how much revision you have done.
- Good revision and preparation will give you confidence.
- Everything they ask you in an exam you have been taught, there are no tricks.
- Go into the exam with an “I’m going to show you” attitude.
Remember that preparation is 90% of it, the exam is (almost) a formality. There is no need to fear it.
If you are doing something and you are not getting the results that you want, then you need to make a change. This might sound really obvious, but most people just do the same thing over and over and get the same results.
So shake it up a bit, do something different.
Spend more time on a subject, get a professional tutor, ask for help from a friend or a teacher, study in the library rather than at home, find a different book on the topic, find new ways to study – just change your routine. If it feels uncomfortable or difficult initially, then it is probably doing you good.
About The Author
Kevin Boyle is a full-time A-level Chemistry Tutor with 15 years experience and a proven track record with students of all abilities. As an online chemistry tutor, he works with students across the UK, equipping them with the skills they need to excel in their exams.