Top strategies for stress-free exams

Often the word ‘exam’ is followed by horrified shudders and nervous fidgeting by the majority of a student body.

Many are left desperately flailing for efficient methods to commit key information to their long-term memory and more often than not, will not be taught ways to cope with the workload.

Some will study late into the night only a day or two before their exams, while others will spend weeks trying to retain the knowledge gained through long exhausting study sessions.

Then there is the inevitable air of panic outside exam rooms as students try to squeeze that last fact or formula into their brains before the long walk.

BRAIN DRAIN: Studies have shown that our brains can only take in a finite amount of information.

BRAIN DRAIN: Studies have shown that our brains can only take in a finite amount of information.

Studies show that the human brain can only retain about 30 minutes worth of data and will not commit anything more to a person’s long-term memory.

So all those nights of cramming extensive amounts of information into your brain? Completely wasted.

Riverside High School students undergo year 10 exams each year and as a result, the school has gathered various effective methods of study and compiled a detailed booklet for their student’s benefit.

These strategies have been developed over years of work based on feedback from students and teachers.

1.     Organise all notes and sheets into categories and then further subcategories e.g. English-Macbeth etc.

2.     When practicing essays or responses allocate the same amount of time as would be available in the exam

3.     Take study breaks (only about 10-15mins) and do some exercise. This will stimulate the brain and help reduce stress

4.     Maintain a regular sleeping pattern in the week prior to exams

5.     Create a timetable for studying, reserving adequate times for each activity

6.     Create summaries, quiz yourself, write practice essays and do mini practice tests to ensure that the knowledge needed is secure in your brain

7.     Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine or sugar

8.     Get plenty of sleep the night before, don’t study and allow yourself to relax for the big day​

EXAM RELIEF: Strategies for effective studying include lots of rest and exercise, a good  timetable and avoiding caffeine and sugar.

EXAM RELIEF: Strategies for effective studying include lots of rest and exercise, a good timetable and avoiding caffeine and sugar.

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