School daze – 5 tips for surviving the pressures of exam time

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When you are in the midst of final exam time at school, it can feel as though your whole life is riding on these few weeks. People often give up exercise, socialising and family time while they shut themselves away in this room frantically cramming for the all-important tests. So, how can you get through the stress and pressure unscathed? Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

Ask for Help

If you are struggling in a particular subject, then now is the time to ask for some assistance. Sometimes you need someone new to take you through a concept and explain the topic in a different way to give you that breakthrough moment that you need. You can find HSC, QCE, and VCE tutors (or any other final-year acronym you need) available online, who specialise in preparing you for end-of-year exams. They will take you through the areas where you are struggling, set you practice questions, and offer tips and advice to help you remember the critical points.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

This point may be the most tedious and unwelcome piece of advice that you will receive, but the earlier that you start your prep, the less stressed you will be once exam time rolls around. Try to break your study into manageable components that can be completed one at a time. Set yourself a daily or weekly target, muster up all of your self-discipline, make yourself a sticker chart if you have to, but make sure you are taking small steps towards your end goal. 

Get Some Exercise

Getting your body moving is a great stress reliever. Exercising increases blood flow, resulting in more oxygen for your brain. It also releases dopamine and endorphins, leaving you feeling more focused and happier, and can counteract cortisol, which is the stress hormone. For these reasons, getting out in the fresh air for a walk, a jog or a swim is amazingly helpful for your mental health, particularly in times of stress. Even a 15-minute break to take the dog for a walk or run around the block will give you the boost that you need to push through.

Sniff the Rosemary Garden

You may have heard people swear by using their sense of smell to help them remember what they are studying. The idea is that you will associate that smell with the information you are reviewing at the time. A dab of essential oil on your wrist at home while revising and again when you take your exam could jog your memory.  If you want to test this theory out, try using rosemary. A UK study found that the scent of rosemary can assist people’s memory. If it doesn’t work, then at least you will smell fragrant!

Keep it in Perspective

Some of the most successful people didn’t finish school. Sir Richard Branson dropped out of school at 16 after struggling with dyslexia. But he didn’t let that stop him. He was smart, he worked hard, and he is now one of the wealthiest people in the UK. All over the world, people look to him for the secret to success. 

Just remember that these exams are one step in the road for you. You can always retake a test, go to TAFE, take up a trade or become an entrepreneur like Mr. Branson. You might end up founding the next Virgin Group!