So we are about halfway through A level exam season, and I think I can speak on behalf of the whole country when I say that I am certainly starting to feel the pressure. The first week of exam season we used up all of our stamina, and now everything is getting to us now… and there are still so many exams left! The photos on this post are most certainly pathetic fallacy… see what I did there? I thought to give you some tips and tricks to improve your stamina, focus and overall performance over exam season, and I do hope that is is helpful.
My first tip would be to re-evaluate your revision timetable, and stop making it so unrealistic. It’s so easy to pile so much into your timetable, and it will make you more stressed when it’s the night before the exam and you haven’t finished everything that you wrote down to do. I would make sure there are a few points on your timetable each night but leave room in order for extra revision and anything that you have maybe forgotten. Make sure you know what you have to do and when you need to do it, it might be time consuming to get your timetable and to do list sorted but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.
Something small that I have done is buy new stationary for halfway through exam season. Halfway through exams I have swapped out my stationary, such as new coloured highlights and fresh pens etc. It’s the little things but it keeps it fresh and it’s something new for in the exam hall. Also if you have a lucky item… make sure to take it in with you! People might think that they are silly but if they help you and get you into a calmer mindspace then it is so worth it. I have had my little lucky mouse for for 8 years and counting and it has never failed me when it comes to exams. Ultimately I do know it’s me and the amount of hard work but it’s nice to think something is helping you along the way.
This is easier said than done, but try to take care of your mental state as much as possible throughout exam season. I always try to have an early night throughout my exams (if I have an exam the next day I will never go to bed after half 10). You are working your bean to an extent that you have never done before and therefore sleep is really important. You will definitely notice the difference in your stamina when you keep your sleep one of the priorities.
One of the ways that I have found really help me keep my focus is a little bit of meditation. It may sound silly but since Easter I have tried to do 10 minutes most days, and in my revision breaks at home. I just sit and have some time to myself, shut my eyes and follow some of the breathing videos that are on YouTube (there are so many!). I have found that it really gets your head into a good place and takes you away from any stress for a few minutes. It obviously doesn’t wipe away stress but it is useful and has given me a more positive mindset over exams. I particularly like the alternative breathing technique and if you haven’t heard of this then I would definitely research this.
Treat yourself! If it’s a pizza or a Chinese that’s the only thing getting you through revision then get on the phone and get it ordered. Short term treats, although unhealthy, are one of the best ways to reward yourself over exam season. I love a takeaway when I’m cramming… it’s the little things that make me the happiest even if my body will not look it’s best for summer!
One of the weirdest things I do (but I genuinely believes it works) is tell myself that I know everything. Even if I am so stressed out or feel like I know nothing, I will walk into that exam room and keep telling myself everything that I know everything there is to know and whatever comes up I will be able to answer with ease. When the invigilators are telling you the introduction (basically the boring bit) I will zone out and just think overly positive thoughts to override the inevitable nerves. The nerves are there but my weirdly positive thoughts are louder, and telling myself that I can do it really helps me and I can somehow trick my brain into confidence. It might not work for everyone but I think that it has really helped my exam performance and and positive mindset in exams.
Like I said, these tips might not be useful for everyone but they have really helped me and it’s worth trying a few even it it just gets you through the next couple of weeks exams! Keep summer in your head, it’s not long now. I’m sure you have done so well for the exams so far and good luck for the rest… just keep pushing!