Hello! As a lot of you will know (and as I keep going on about), it’s currently exam season here in the UK. I thought I’d take some time to check-in and share some thoughts with you I guess!
Exam season so far has been a bit of a mess for me. Firstly, I was ill for almost three weeks with a flu type thing. I’ve only just been feeling better this past week, which was lucky as I had my first exam on Wednesday (French speaking) and it would have been an absolute disaster if I still couldn’t speak properly. Being ill in exam time is really inconvenient. I had to take time off from college and revision and I felt really overwhelmed because I’d got so behind on work. Then once I started getting better, the stress hit me like a tonne of bricks and I found myself having almost daily breakdowns because everything was overwhelming and I just couldn’t cope.
However, I’ve managed to pick myself back up again and I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of finding a balance between studying and looking after my health. So I guess I feel like sharing it in case it helps anyone else – or my future self – out.
Personally, I have always been very organised when it comes to exam season, as in, I like to have my revision completely planned out so I know what I should be doing when and I’d make revision timetables months in advance. However this year, I’ve probably made about six different revision timetables and just haven’t been able to stick to a schedule. I’d end up missing revision one day because I was too tired or had other commitments then found myself constantly trying to catch up with all the stuff I’d missed as well as get all the stuff I’d scheduled for that day finished and quite frankly it just didn’t work and made me way more stressed out than I needed to be.
My teacher said to me a while ago that the secret to good revision is to stop planning and start doing, and I’m only know realising how right he was because I’d spend hours trying to figure out a revision timetable that worked, in the mean time getting frustrated and stressed about the amount of work I had to do and lack of time, then I’d be too worked up to actually do any work and before I knew it the day would be over and I hadn’t achieved anything. Now I’ve decided that revision timetables just don’t work for me anymore or with the demands of my A Level subjects, so I’ve developed a new, much better system.
Basically, I just write out a list of everything I need to do in the near future to feel confident for each of my exam papers, then each week/weekend I’ll choose the paper that I feel most concerned about at that moment and will focus on getting as far through the list as possible that week/weekend. That way, I’m not stressing myself out by saying I need to write so many essays on this day, instead I just get on with it and actually do some work. I can be a lot more productive if I’m not telling myself I will fail if I don’t get through a certain amount of work each day, and I feel like I’m learning and remembering a lot more because I’m less stressed. Revision is actually becoming a bit more enjoyable.
I know different revision techniques work better for different people, but I thought I’d found my ‘revision style’ after going through two GCSE exam seasons, but I guess they in which we study best changes when we grow and learn more. So the lesson I’ve learnt from this is that I should be more open-minded to shaking-up my revision and studying a bit and to not stress myself out by setting unrealistic goals!
Good luck to everyone doing exams at the moment, make sure you take time to take care of yourself too. 🙂