May and June remind me of three things. The start of summer, because the days are finally lighter and the prospect of leaving the house in a tshirt is very real thing. My birthday, June 8th, presents in the form of chocolate and flowers are most welcome. And, for the last 7 years of my life, exams.
Exam season starts and ends over the next couple months invariably depending on where you are in life. And depending on the severity of the exams, the chances are, you'll be revising.
As the girl who watched 3 seasons of Gilmore Girls during 'exam season' last year, I know all too well the urge to sit in a duvet cocoon and watch Netflix instead of revising. But for those days where you do manage to open a book, I thought I'd give you some exam tips.
Despite my quite frankly ridiculous ability to procrastinate, with nearly 7 years between me and my first ever GCSE, I think I'm pretty qualified at this sorta stuff.
1. Get everything in one place
If you're anything like me, there's a chance your notes from the previous year are everywhere. From the beginning of term when you bothered to actually file them, to later when they're on rough pieces of paper screwed up at the bottom of your bag. Find all the information you need to and sort it out. I actually buy a brand new notepad for revision, and write up neatly all of my notes on each topic, so I have all of the information to hand and all in one place. Then I cut it down and write it out again on flashcards, so just before the exam I'm able to have a quick look over all of the important bits.
2. Make a revision plan
Even if you throw it away after 2 days, although I don't advise that bit. It gets you in the zone and breaking everything down can make the whole prospect of studying a bit less terrifying and a bit more organised. Break down your modules/subjects and spice up your life, throw in a bit of maths here and english there, there's nothing worse than thinking you have a day of revising your worst subject ahead, so don't do it to yourself.
3. Take breaks according to you
Everyone is going to say take breaks. I've been hearing it from teachers and lecturers alike, but if you're really in the zone and powering through, and you vaguely remember a buzzfeed post about taking a 10 minute break every 30 minutes, don't break your pattern. Work in accordance with what works for you. Some people have to break up their working pattern, others can just smash it out in one 4 hour session. You do you bbz xoxo
4. Colours are your new bezzie
The prospect of investing in a new pack of Sharpies makes me giddy with happiness. It all depends on how far you want to go- colour coded flash cards? Beautiful rainbow mind maps? It all supposedly helps with memory so why not just make it as colourful as possible really.
5. Google is your other bezzie
Make sure you know everything you need to. Sometimes revising is less revision and more learning, but don't skip it. If you think it's important, make sure you know enough that if it comes up in the exam you won't cry. Google words and phrases you don't understand or are unsure of, just have a good understanding of what you're learning about.
6. Past Papers aren't for everyone
I'm not even convinced they're for anyone. But admittedly there's always those people who talk about all of the past papers they've done, and that is great. For them. But just because they're timing themselves and whatnot, it doesn't mean it works for everyone. I can't revise using past papers, all it does is make my stress level reach 10000000000000. And it's not worth it. I know I'm a fast writer, so the prospect of fitting in 3 essays in 3 hours isn't a worry for me, there's no point in getting myself into a panic for something that doesn't actually benefit me. On the other hand, if you are one of those who worries about timings etc, it can be worth practicing writing, especially if you're at uni and tend to type up a lot.
7. Don't force yourself
There obviously is a line with this, if you have an exam tomorrow and you haven't revising because uh 'Alice said don't force yourself' nuh uh. That is not the aim of #7. However, if you find you're reading and rereading the same page over and over and nothing is sinking in, leave. Get up and get out. If you're invited for an evening drink, don't turn it down because of revision, or you'll end up resenting revising even more. Just be sensible with it so you don't end up in the land of regretted revision. I should probably remind myself of this really.
8. Listen to music without words
I'm not necessarily talking classical. But the chances are you'll find it harder to concentrate if there's a little man singing Uptown Funk if you're ear whilst you're trying to revise chemical reactions. This doesn't mean you need to become Beethoven and Bach's new biggest fan, listen to an acoustic Spotify playlist or whatevs. I actually have a film soundtrack piano playlist. This is when the inner nerd Alice comes out, but why would I not want to listen to the 10 minute Lord of the Rings soundtrack????? If you love a good Disney film there's a 3 hour Disney Piano playlist on Youtube, and trust me, it's everything you want it to be and more.
9. Diet and exercise really do help
Soz to be the one to tell you, but eating a box of choccy fingers whilst revising really doesn't help your revision. Even if they do taste oh so good. Snack on fruit and nuts and all things good for you because let's face it, you'll probably end up going on a celebratory weekend drunk-a-thon at the end of exams, so do the good stuff to your body now.
There's nothing you can do to stop exams from happening. Tragically they're just a part of life, so take a deep breath and get on with it. In the grand old scheme of things, it's a small part of your year which will be worth it in the long run. Think of summer, think of the Gilmore Girls reunion, think of Leonardo DiCaprio cheering you on, but just get through it and come out on the other side knowing you couldn't have done much more to help yourself.
Good luck to anyone who has exams over the next couple of months! I hope this offers a bit of help and guidance. Mine start on Tuesday, so if I am a bit quiet on here, it's because I've sunk into a revision pit.
Ciao for Now!