We're not here to preach. If your exams are looming we just want you to know we're with you. We feel your pain. You CAN do this. Here are our 5 top tips on staying sane through the next few months.
1. Sleep. You know this. Even one extra hour of sleep is proven to have a positive impact on performance in an exam. In fact scientists reckon sleep deprivation can have the same impact on your behaviour as being drunk! Make sure you get deliberate and scheduled sleep in order to let your weary brain cells repair themselves. Before you get into bed, put your phone on Airplane mode or leave it in another room. It can feel tempting to use your phone to wind down before you sleep but all that blue light from the screen won't do you any good and it's all too easy to lose 3 hours watching Vlogs on Youtube and then a few more hours beating yourself up with regret. We know, we've been there. Be strong.
Go. To. Sleep.
2. Brain food. Yep, you know this one too. But knowing it and having the strength to put it into practice are two different things. Ploughing your way through endless piles of white toast or a family sized packet of chocolate Hobnobs will not make you a genius. You'll feel sluggish and regretful about 10 minutes later. Be kind to your body. Eat food that will give you energy, rather than zapping it. Making time to stop and enjoy proper meals is a good way to give yourself a break and really focus on enjoying your food. This is tough. It's probably the opposite of what you feel like doing but it will have a massive impact on your productivity and that's what these few weeks of revision are all about.
3. Be the teacher. You're much more likely to remember something if you actually understand it. This sounds obvious, but it's no use trying to remember facts if you don't grasp the thinking or theory behind them. A good way to ensure that something has really stuck in your brain is to teach it to someone else. Schedule some time with a couple of friends and take it in turns to explain a subject or a few key points to one another. You'll soon discover if there are any gaps in your knowledge and listening to someone present something to you in a new or different way should help you take in information.
4. Step away from your desk. Your main focus in all of this is productivity and there comes a time when although you might be sitting at your desk, you're not really achieving anything anymore. There's a whole heap of science that proves that exercise boosts brain power, helps you focus and relieves tension. Even if you've never really been the sporty type a brisk walk for 30 minutes everyday is a very achievable way of adding some essential cardio.
Research by Dr Chuck Hillman of the University of Illinois provides evidence that taking a brisk walk or doing exercise about 20 minutes before taking a test can boost brain power so resist the urge to cram on the morning of an exam and head outside instead.
5. Treat Yourself. All this self-discipline is tough and you're naturally going to be feeling stressed. Make sure you allocate some time to rest, fun and relaxing. If you plan and organise these rewards you'll be able to keep working knowing that you've got something lovely to look forward to and you'll really feel like you've earnt it.
Don't allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Being the best you can be requires lots of self care. We wish you all lots of luck. Hang in there, you've got this!
If you'd like your own Clever Clogs desk buddy or you want to send one to someone who is studying for exams you'll find her here.
Photo credits to @pisimel, @pinarsoo and @little_coffee_pot on Instagram