10 tips for the final days before exams


Set up a Study Schedule

For each day left till the exam, decide what you will study.  Give more time to papers where the final study time is limited.  Discuss your schedule with friends; develop it with them if possible.  You will get good ideas and it will help to discuss progress with each other

Keep all materials handy

Make sure all your notes, books, worksheets, online materials are all organized for study.  If you need to copy notes, don’t wait till the last minute.  Ideally put materials for each subject together, make a file with all loose papers including your class tests and work you have done practicing questions.

Remove distractions – specially on social media

Shut off notifications on your computer and phone.  Get off any online games where you must accumulate points regularly.  Don’t get onto social media more than once a day.  Keep calls and unplanned family and friend meetings to a minimum.  If you are referring to online materials, keep only those sites open and do not visit other sites.

Revise – Don’t take up anything new

You will do better to focus on what you know and make sure you know it well, rather than to work on things for the first time.  Studying new things takes time and can easily become demotivating.  While revising, stay with one subject for a reasonable duration of time – at least a few hours.  Within the subject, try and be steady.  Switching between chapters and subjects frequently can mean that you are repeating chapters and losing focus

Make ‘final’ notes

In the last few days, keep a notebook handy to write down the few things you will review before you go in for your exam.  This should not be more than 2-3 pages of regular handwriting.  They could be things like formulae, dates, and anything else you will need to remember at the very last minute.  Read this a few hours before the exam as a final revision.

Take frequent breaks

As you keep studying, the law of diminishing returns sets in – with continuous study after the first period, the ability to retain information reduces.  A common rule of thumb is to take a 10 minute break every 50 minutes, though this does vary from person to person.  Study the materials you need to engage more with in the morning when you are more fresh.

Eat healthy meals, drink lots of water

The brain is 2% of body mass but consumes upto 20% of energy.  While studying, keeping this energy up has both physical and psychological impact.  Eat foods with a low glycemic index.  These release glucose slowly into the blood and keep energy up.  Eat many small meals.  Yogurt, most fruits and vegetables, daals, are all low GI.  If rotis can be whole grain, so much the better.  If you eat sweets, do remember that it releases glucose very quickly.  So you will get a burst of energy for a short while and then feel drained after that.

Sleep enough

As students in school, you should get 8-9 hours of sleep every day.  This is often a challenge before the exams.  Ideally, even before an exam you should sleep for at least 7 hours.  If you feel the need to study more, do make sure that every alternate day you sleep for at least 7 hours.  If you sleep much less, your exam performance will suffer.

Prepare an exam kit

You will be allowed a few things for your exam.  Pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasors, geometry sets, identity card, make a pouch and put everything in.  If there is something that you need to use and will put in only at the last minute, let someone else know who can remind you.  This will ease your mind before an exam and also avoid stress if something is missing when you reach the venue.

Reach the venue early, and walk around

You do not want the last minute stress of reaching just in time.  Things can happen, such as traffic jams or a breakdown, which can cause delays.  So plan to reach well in advance.  Once you reach the venue, walk around for about 10 minutes.  Walking helps the blood circulate a better, helps clear your mind and also helps you focus.

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