15 June 2015

Exams: How to improve your grades

Good news, students!

Exams: How to improve your grades

Even if your mocks results sucked and the thought of more exams makes you sick, it's not too late to improve your grades.

To do this you will need:
Pens, paper, a comfy chair, a desk lamp, lavender oil, study cards, muesli or oats, tuna fish, bananas, peppermint tea, a pair of trainers and some friends.
Remember, better results mean more choices, better 'well-done' presents from your mum and dad and generally better betterness all round.
Small changes to your surroundings, lifestyle and attitude will work wonders.
And don't forget, we're with you every step of the way.

1. Get your head in the game:

It genuinely is not too late to improve your grade.
If things have been going badly, stop and think about why.
Sort it out: Skipping classes, homework, going out a lot or just not asking for help when you need it... Whatever it is that's stopping you reaching your potential, now is the time to sort it out.

2. Create a study zone: 

Remove any 'background noise' from your life: If you're going through a bit of a rocky patch with a boyfriend or mate, talk to them or suggest spending time apart till after the exams.

Think positive: Start thinking of yourself as a person capable of passing exams and doing well.

Tidy your room:
Chuck out all magazines (so distracting, and who needs mags when you've got Whatever After?) and lend any TV or games console to your little bro till the exams are over.
Completely clear your desk and make sure you've got a nice comfy chair with a good back support (you're going to be doing a lot of sitting, girlfriend...)
Make a revision timetable:
Don't spend more than an hour on it. That means no colour coding! (Yes, we see you with your coloured markers...)
Timetable for every day up to and during the exams and include the exams themselves. Include details on where the exams will be - this will avoid any last minute terror dashes through the science block. 

3. Become an exam passing machine:
Get up from your desk every so often and stretch your legs, touch your toes, or whatever it takes to stop your body turning into an atrophied corpse in the shape of your chair.
If you can bear it, go for a run. This will get oxygen pumping around your body (and hopefully into your brain).
Eat well. Here are our top exam foods:
Fish - the oils in it make your brain grow, allegedly.
Oats - a healthy bowl of muesli or porridge on the day of your exams will keep your energy levels up.
Peppermint tea - a refreshing pick-me-up that won't stop you sleeping when you need to.
Other 'brain foods': Avocados, bananas, sprouts, lettuce, peanut butter and melons.

4. How to get facts to stay in your head
Don't try to revise all day, your brain will explode.
Think of the day as 3 x 3 hour chunks (around the same length as an exam.)
Aim to work for two of the three chunks and then do something else for the third one. This will keep your mind fresh while keeping in the exam mindset.
Don't feel guilty if you can't revise one day. So long as you work most days, you should be fine. You don't need to actually be learning algorhythms at your cousin's wedding or anything.
Get into a good sleep routine.
Don't work after midnight. And try to stop well before then. It's impossible to hold information in your head when you're tired.
Try to get to bed early, and wake up at the time you'd get up for school (v hard when you're on study leave, but worth it cos if you keep getting up late, the early start on the day of your exams will totally throw you.)
Putting a couple of drops of lavender oil in your bath can help you get a good night's sleep, especially if you're stressed.
Work with friends.
Think about it, three people = three brains = three times the knowledge!
Speaking your ideas out loud can help you remember them. Top business types use this trick to remember people's names. If you say the name straight away, it seems to move it into a different part of the brain where it's easier to recall. Chatting through ideas with friends can do the same thing.
It's fun! But limit group study sessions to one every other day; otherwise you'll end up talking about boys. Won't you?

5. How to ace it

The night before:
Pack all your pens, lucky squirrels, etc, the night before. You don't want any distractions on the morning of an exam.
Find out exactly where the exam is and what time you need to be there, so you don't have a last minute rush.
On the day:
Eat a good breakfast: And if you've got two exams that day make sure you take a healthy, sustaining packed lunch. Tuna and salad in wholemeal pitta, a banana and an, ahem, energy-giving choccy bar should do the trick.
Go to the loo before you get in the exam hall (saves having to be taken to the toilet by a teacher once the exam has started, which is obv v cringey).
In the exam hall:
Sounds obvious, but make sure you've read the question before starting your answers. So many people fail cos they've mis-read the question. True fact.

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