Posted by Jenny Mason on 1/2/2016
These are just some effective and practical ways you can get through preparation for upcoming exams and assessments.
Take breaks and have plenty of rest
It will not help anybody if you are too stressed to understand what you are studying. Rest is essential to having a brain ready for learning and retaining skills and information. You need to get enough sleep each night and take regular breaks to maintain a healthy mind. You also will approach the subject in a fresh way the next day. Yoga Nidra and mindfulness MP3s are a great way to ‘let go’ of mental tension. You could also put on your favourite comedy film and take a break this way, laughing is also great therapy for countering stress.
Talk it out
When you are tackling a subject that you find confusing and you are stuck so to speak, you need to talk it out. Explaining your topic/text/concept to someone else will help YOU to understand it. So it can be anyone, a tutor, your teacher, your parents, sibling, friends, anyone who will listen. The point is putting it into words helps you form a clearer concept and having to explain to someone who knows nothing about it will make it even clearer in your mind. Discussion is positive.
Similar to talking about your subject, writing notes, also helps you to understand it. You are having to write the information in another way – paraphrasing and summarising definitely helps you to have a fuller understanding of your subject. For example biology notes can be a series of definitions and illustrations. The more you write and draw about the terms and systems you are supposed to grasp, the more you will understand them.
Read something else
I remember tutoring an HSC student a while back and he was studying political speeches. He was great at recognising the literary features of the speeches and he had a good grasp of English, however some of these speeches had occurred before he was born. To understand the context of the speeches, I suggested we do some other reading – around the history of the time the speeches were made. This really helped him understand the relevance and impact of the speeches. Background reading will help in almost every subject.
Exercise and eat well
This is really a measure of stress relief. Just like how your brain works better after rest, it also functions better when you are eating healthily and getting enough exercise. Not only does moving around get rid of tension, it helps to clear your mind, and to have deeper rest and feel happier. The release of serotonin and endorphins is just what you need to counter the stress that surrounds exams. Find something you love doing/playing and schedule it in as an essential part of your study routine. Tennis, yoga, walking, cycling, anything will do to achieve a great, natural high.