A Fight to the Finish - How to Avoid a Stressful Finish to A-Levelsby James Timpson (Write a guest post and share your tips with us)
Studying for A-Levels can be a stressful time, both for the student and for the family as a whole. Address these four key areas to ensure that the best results possible are achieved on the day:
Lower the Stress Levels
When you are caught up in exam fever it can seem like the outcome is the only important thing in the world and that there is a huge amount riding on the result, not least entry into university or better job prospects. However, no one performs at their best if they are under a huge amount of pressure.
While it is important to recognize A-Levels are a key milestone in your life and that good results will be valuable to your future career, they should also be put into perspective. Worst case scenario, an exam can always be repeated, and while this is not something anyone wants to happen, you might just find that by taking the pressure off a little, you perform better first time round.
Preparation Is Key
When it comes to exam revision for A-Levels preparation is key, and the earlier you can start revising the better. Some areas you should consider at the start of your revision are the following:
- Understand the syllabus and what you need to cover
- Read the examiner’s report from the previous year, this will give you a feel for what you should be doing and what you should avoid
- Look at past exam papers, so you get a feel for the format of the questions
- Consider what revision techniques work best for you, and don’t be afraid to try alternative options, such as mind mapping
- Create a revision timetable, but make it a little flexible, so that if you don’t stick to it to the letter, you don’t abandon it all together
- Don’t procrastinate and spend much longer preparing to revise, than actually getting down to revision
It Takes Discipline
Sometimes students are slow to start their revision because they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that lies ahead and they are just not sure what to tackle first. This is why it can sometimes be helpful to take a revision course in any or all of the subjects being studied. This can help to organize your thoughts and to make sure you are focusing on the key areas of the syllabus.
Alternatively, consider these points to make your study effective:
- Start revising as early as possible so that you don’t leave it all to the last minute. Ideally you will be preparing your revision as you go through the coursework
- Break your revision down into manageable sections and focus on one a day
- Make a revision book or revision cards, so that you have one central place to refer to your notes
- On occasion revise with friends, so that you can ask each other questions and give each other some support
- Try working in different places. Some people find being outdoors helpful, so take your revision cards on a walk and get some air. Others find they need the quiet discipline of a library to get them to focus
- Revise in short bursts. Research has shown that the brain can only concentrate for a maximum of 40 minutes. Set a kitchen timer and focus fully until the bell rings. After that take a short break of 5 to 10 minutes to stretch, get a drink, or some air and then return to your studies
Eat Well and Rest
The final piece of the puzzle, to ensure you are in peak condition for exam time, is to take care of yourself physically. Studying can be tiring, on top of the fact that you are nervous for the exams, so eat well and get enough sleep. This is part of the reason that you don’t want to leave a lot of revision until the last minute. There is nothing worse than sitting an exam when you have been awake most of the night revising.
These tips should stand you in good stead once the exams arrive. Stay calm, know that you have done all you can in the lead up to the day and walk into the examination hall confident in your abilities. Liked this post? Subscribe now to read more post like this one! Tweet