Revising is a tough business!
First of all you have to make a start. That can be a challenge in itself. You talk yourself out of it, watch TV, wash the dishes for your mum and generally do anything you can before facing up to the inevitable.
It’s a natural human reaction to procrastinate. We all do it. But when you are procrastinating more than actually doing, you know it’s time to do something about it.
So how can you get started?
Well, the first thing to do is to write a list of what it is you actually need to cover. That can seem overwhelming at first but when you write it down you are organising your thoughts and making a strategy. When you have your list, have a think about how much time you have before each exam and prioritise your revision according to when the exam is, how much you need to cover and how important it is. For instance, lots of students think they can’t revise for English Language which is kind of true but what you can do is practise skills. This is something that you can’t leave until the last minute and cram for so it’s important to make additional time for your skills based revision.
The next thing to do is draw up a timetable. It’s tempting to fill it up completely but be realistic. After a busy day at school or college can you really fit in another 4 hours work? Not likely. It’s better to do an hour of quality revising each night than to wade mindlessly through a huge chunk of time feeling a bit lost and hopeless. It’s all about being productive not busy. If you stress yourself out by overdoing it this can lead to burn out which isn’t what you need right now.
Once you have organised your revision it’s time to get started. I advise chunking down your revision into manageable pieces and start with your weakest areas first.
If you find yourself zoning out then take a short break. Do some mindful breathing exercises, walk around the block or drink a glass of water and just be for a while. If you are feeling the pressure than it’s best to give your mind a gentle break, something like meditation can be very useful for. It will calm your mind and help you to refocus. Whatever you do don’t eat junk food or drink energy drinks – these will leave you feeling sluggish and tired in the end.
Leisure time is also important in the exam season but this is something you need to think carefully about. If relaxing means a night out clubbing or playing computer games until late at night then you need to rethink your habits for a few months. However, sport, exercise and seeing friends will really help you to feel relaxed and happy during a tense exam period.
If all else fails try to be mindful. Don’t think too far ahead and take each hour and day as it comes.