3 simple ways to make revision less stressful
With exam season fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about revision. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed at this time of year, there’s plenty of simple tweaks you can make to the way you revise that will help reduce exam-related anxiety.
Read on for three ways to take the stress out of preparing for your exams and give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Don’t let revision take over your life
Everyone has their own approach to revision, and some are more successful than others. Many students lock themselves in their rooms in the build-up to a big test and do nothing but revise. While this might seem like a good strategy for acing your exams, in his book How to Become a Straight-A Student, Cal Newport argues it is actually counterproductive.
As anyone who’s taken this approach to revision knows, burying your head in your textbooks for a fortnight straight and living off Pot Noodles is a sure-fire recipe for stress. Newport argues that your grades will actually improve if you give yourself plenty of time to relax during exam season instead of staying glued to your revision notes.
So, reduce stress and improve your grades by getting plenty of sleep, fresh air, and exercise around exam time. You should also take time to prepare healthy food, and spend time with friends and family. During the hours you do revise, make sure you’re being as productive as possible by turning your phone off and blocking distracting sites from your computer using an app like Freedom. This will keep stress down to a minimum, as well as improve your grades.
Don’t leave everything till the last minute
While it’s important to schedule plenty time for relaxation in the build-up to your exams, that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to the last minute.
For those that leave all their revision to the evening before their exam and then wonder why they don’t get the grades they were hoping for, science has an answer. Popular Science reports that spacing your study sessions apart will help you retain important information much more effectively than cramming in one long sitting.
Not only is pulling an all-nighter a bad way of retaining the information you need to do well on your exams, but it also guarantees you won’t be at your best when you need to perform.
So, if you want to keep stress to a minimum and get the best grades you’re capable of, start your revision well in advance and take a ‘little and often’ approach. On the evening before your exam, you should do no more than recap your notes before getting an early night to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders when you need it most.
Get out into nature
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed in the build-up to your exams, but there’s plenty you can do to reduce stress and improve your chances of getting the grades you want. According to a recent study from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a simple and effective way to combat negative thoughts and anxiousness is by taking a 90-minute walk in nature.
Another study by psychologists Ruth Atchley and David Strayer also discovered creative problem solving can be improved when you disconnect from technology and get out into nature.
So, if you want to keep stress levels to a minimum during revision and get your brain working at full capacity, make sure you schedule time to get out into nature. If you live near a park or a beach, break up revision sessions with a relaxing walk.
You can also reap the brain-boosting benefits of the great outdoors by getting out in the garden. Nicky Roeber, the Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, says: “Spending just 15 minutes a day in your garden can do wonders to relieve exam anxiety. An effective form of ecotherapy, it allows you to escape the stresses of everyday life and reconnect with nature. This is particularly important during exam season, when you’re likely spending hours each day staring at a computer screen”. When the sun is shining, simply make a comfy spot in your garden where you can go over your notes to benefit from the anxiety-alleviating effects of nature.
So, there you have it: three simple ways to reduce stress and improve your grades this exam season. Take these tips on board and you’ll be sure to ace your assignments without the anxiety. Good luck!