Top Tips for Exam Revision
It’s that time of year once again when many people are studying for their school or university exams. It can be a very stressful time because often so much rides on the exam results.
So how can you focus and concentrate on studying when all you really want to do is watch Netflix, hang out with your mates or even just stare out the window?
Here are some useful techniques to help you to apply yourself to your study and help you to retain the knowledge you have taken the time to learn. They are designed to help you focus rather than specific ways to study because I’m sure you’re already getting plenty of advise about that!
Tip 1 – Sleep Well
This is by far the best thing you can do as sleep enriches all the functions required for your ability to learn, memory and make logical decisions. Sleep restores the brain’s capacity for learning by making room in the hippocampus for new memories and your ability to recall information. If you are sleep deprived, such as trying to cram before an exam, there is no learning activity at all in the hippocampus because your brain is unable to function properly. Sleeping well before study enables you to retain the information better, and your body will be rested and you will be more able to apply itself to study.
Tip 2 – Have a Goal for Each Study Session
Work out what you would like to accomplish when you are studying. It can be just to read two pages of a study guide, or to understand a concept you have been struggling with. When you achieve your objective, your brain releases the hormone dopamine which is your reward hormone. You feel great for achieving your goal and this motivates you to do more of the same and it enables you to try more regularly and more efficiently because your brain is telling you what works for you. Once you have completed your goal reward yourself – you deserve it!
Tip 3 – Ask For Help
If you don’t understand something it can feel overwhelming especially if it’s the link to understanding further concepts or techniques. Your teachers really do want to help because it’s in their interests as well for you to do your best. Maybe your friends or family could help because they may not know you are struggling with a certain subject. It really is OK not to understand everything and it’s only by making it clear you need help that help can be given.
Tip 4 – Eat a Balanced Diet
I know this comes up in every top tips advise, but it’s especially important for your brain to eat properly. No matter how quick and easy it is to eat crisps or a slice of cake, it won’t boost your brain or help your memory. For example healthy snack foods can include blueberries which contain antioxidants that help improve memory. Pumpkin seeds are rich in many nutrients such as copper, magnesium, iron and zinc which are important for brain function. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids with can boost mood and memory. Nuts, especially almonds contain many brain-boosting nutrients including vitamin E and healthy fats. Oranges and other high vitamin C foods can help to defend your brain from cell damage and is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is your feel good hormone. You can help boost your brain’s health and alertness by including these foods in your diet as well as boost memory and mood. Studies have shown that the brain uses 20% of the calories burnt each day, and this increases if our brain is working harder.
Tip 5 – Think Positively
Think about what you have achieved so far and acknowledge your successes when you answer practise questions correctly. Feeling overwhelmed and worrying about everything you still have to do, stops you studying in the present moment because you can’t focus. Think about the best case scenario. When you look at your study list imagine how great it will feel when you’ve achieved it, rather than worrying about how much you still have left to do. Negative thinking can make study seem impossible so reframing your thoughts can help such as ‘I can’t possible understand this concept’, can be changed to ‘this is hard, but I will be able to figure it out’.
Tip 6 – Avoid Distractions
I know this is obvious, but turn off your notifications so you’re not constantly having to check them. They honestly can wait. If you find your mind drifting away, that’s fine, just realise your are doing it and bring your mind back to your study. Sometimes when your mind wanders it’s an opportunity for your brain to consolidate and remember what you’re just learnt. Giving yourself regular breaks also helps to avoid distractions as your mind only stays focused for limited periods.
Tip 7 – Be Prepared
Have everything you need ready and organised so you’re not faffing about looking for items you need. This means when you do start your work it’ll be more productive.
My daughter is about to sit her GCSE exams this year and was a great inspiration because like many people sitting exams there are similar issues. She was able to advise me on ways to focus from her own experience and also chatting with her friends.
Good luck with your exams!
About the Author: Carmen is based in our Market Harborough clinic. She especially focuses on clients suffering from stress and anxiety, in particular teenagers. She is the mother of a teenager and likes how solution focused hypnotherapy can give teens life long skills so they won’t take their issues into adulthood. She is also a piano teacher.
If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy can help you focus better and get the results you want get in touch to book your FREE initial consultation with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
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