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Exam Season

 

‘As exam season approaches what tips and techniques will you provide your pupils with to ensure academic success, whilst also considering exam pressure and their mental wellbeing?’

Exams are stressful. No point denying it. We might try to soften the blow but anyone who has sat an exam knows that it is make or break time. Exams are one of the bottle necks of life. However, surely we are presented with an obvious choice. Option 1 is to try really hard and get the best result you possibly can. Option 2 is to not really bother and as a result underperform. But of course it is not so simple. Human nature gets in the way. We don’t always do what we know to be the best thing for us. The classical Greeks were the first to identify this phenomenon, with Plato and Aristotle both being interested in our tendency to show a lack of self-command or akrasia. We know that 9th piece of cake will make us fat, but hey why not. We need to start revising a month before our exam, but procrastination seems easier. Why? Revision can be boring. The task can seem insurmountable. Some topics still seem challenging. The internet beckons…

We are also very good at lying to ourselves. Just one more episode of this series on Netflix to relax my mind before starting work. I need to make my room really tidy before I can think of revising. I revised for 30 mins this morning - am I not the most virtuous student alive so I should go out as a reward? Such excuses are, I am sure, familiar to many. We might lie to ourselves but it is hard to fool ourselves.

So how to beat this? Recognise the challenge of revision and own it. There are no short cuts and modern exams really do require a lot of revision, and yes it can be boring at times. Remember that the exam season is for a short time only and there is much to look forward to once they are over.

Getting started, it can seem tempting to begin with the easiest topics. There is, however, a risk that you will give the most time to the things that you can already do. A good challenge is to start with a topic that you really don’t like. You will feel like you have made real progress that way.

Remember that every subject covers a range of different topics, naturally breaking it into manageable chunks for revision that are not so intimidating. Topics, in turn, can be broken down. Try giving yourself clear “if….then” rewards for each small unit of study. For instance, if I can learn 2 poems, then I can go to the movies this evening. This also gives the benefit of genuinely allowing you to relax without guilt. Finally get rid of the distractions – your phone is possibly the ultimate procrastination tool. 

Exams are not fun, but remember that it will all be over soon and you will have earned an amazing summer holiday. Good luck.


Posted: 22/03/2019 at 12:05
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