Take the stress out of exams – our top revision tips

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How to stop stressing out at exam time

If anybody says they’re actually looking forward to sitting their exams, you can safely cross them off your Christmas list for good. Exams are high pressure environments and sometimes it seems they’re designed to stress us out, not test our knowledge.

No wonder many of us get super-stressed. We don’t want to let ourselves down, or anyone else. Which is where having your own, personalised revision timetable comes in.

If you want to lower your blood pressure and raise your grades, let’s create your ultimate revision plan.

When should I start?

If you’ve got spring exams, it’s time to get started! The most successful students work backwards from the exam date – because revision is a countdown to a deadline. If you bury your head in the sand until a minute to midnight, it’s not going to go well.

Break it down into bitesize chunks

 List all the topics you’ll need to master for each module or subject. The more specific you are, the more successful you’ll be, and you’ll know you’ve not missed anything out.

You’ll need to slot in your revision sessions around your other studying, sport and social life. So plan for downtime as well as revision and build in some slack. Getting the work-life balance right puts you in the best frame of mind to concentrate.

Ticking off each topic as you go gives you a lovely little feelgood glow. And just seeing that ‘forest of ticks’ is the confidence-booster you need on exam day.

Once you’ve got your timetable, with short study sessions and regular breaks to come up for air, it’s time to start filling in the blanks.

Creating your personal study plan

 “The key to revision is giving yourself enough time. I like, at the very minimum, six weeks to prepare for an exam. I love using wall calendars and time blocking to organise my day and fit revision around it.” Zebra Pen Ambassador, Elizabeth @thestudygene

Creating your own, original revision plan that you can keep in front of you to inspire and motivate you is your next step. Our brilliantly talented Ambassador, Elizabeth, should know – she’s in her sixth and final year of an Open University degree in Health Sciences. If anything, Elizabeth says, you’ve got to be even more disciplined and honest with yourself when you’re studying online, so ‘own your plan’! Everybody’s study plan will be different. Listen to your inner voice, know how long you can realistically study before you glaze over and schedule your time in 20 minute chunks, not 2 hour blocks. Plus, research shows that handwriting your notes and hand designing your plan really helps to embed knowledge. With that in mind…

Get your Zebras at the ready!

Whether you’re sitting A-Levels, finals or Open University exams, the must-have Zebra Pen is the Z-grip. It won’t slip or slide in your hand when you’re up against the clock and it glides onto page after page without you cramping up. Combo that with Mildliner highlighters and your revision notes will be a pleasure to look at as well as learn from.

Make time for yourself.

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing during revision and exam time is even more important in these coming months. So be kind to yourself, eat well, and if a topic just isn’t going in, don’t panic! Take a breath, take a break, and take a walk. Your study plan had extra sessions in just so you could work on some things for longer.

With a great revision plan, you can wake up refreshed, well-prepared and on top of your game. Good luck– we know you’ll do yourself proud!