It seems at the moment that everyone is studying. My little sister is currently in the middle of studying for her A-Levels; I wrote this mainly with her in mind. My best friend is also coming to the end of her degree, another studying for a law post-grad.
It is no little understatement that I hated revising. I generally hate any form or period of time where I’m trapped indoors so the self-enforced social exclusion killed me.
I’m also not very good at long periods of concentrated thought. My mind wonders, I doodle; half an hour later and I’ve drawn an exquisite picture of a dragon rather than my actual work. Unfortunately, pictures of dragons count for nothing in an actual exam (although my Physics AS level – which I spectacularly failed first time round – I gave up half way through and drew a sketch of the guy to my left – which got a big ‘beautiful’ in red pen) so I’m here to give you a couple of hard-earned pointers to help you concentrate and focus on revision. And most importantly, not go mental.
1) Rome wasn’t built in a day
Start early. Trust me.
2) But if you need to build Rome in a day…
We’ve all been there. The sheer Oh-My-God panic followed by despair and gibbering, head scratching and flailing.
Let it wash over you then stop. Yes, you should have started earlier – but no, you can’t invent the time machine. So sit down and write a clear plan of the key points you need to know or cover before your exam. Assign time for each slot. Then learn like a mother. At this point, procrastination isn’t an issue as you should be sufficiently terrified.
3) Look after yourself
When you’ve not seen the sun for 5 days straight there is a very high chance you feel & look like a sh*t sandwich. Don’t give into that feeling. Some days I used to wear nothing but pyjamas all day and eat yesterday’s Chinese takeaway – and then wonder why my concentration was shot. Thing is, if you’re knee deep in a pit of self loathing you will be worrying about the effect of said Chinese on your waistline rather than chemistry… No need to get glam, but make sure you’re scrubbed and clean every morning and dressed – so you wouldn’t feel ashamed if you had to run out and get milk.
4) Life doesn’t stop
Ok, don’t go on a huge bender every night. But if you know you’ve got a heavy one coming up, plan for it in your schedule. If you’re more hungover than a fraggle on crack you aren’t going to want to do calculations at 9am. Similarly don’t let socialising or the gym slip – you’ll need those endorphins for when you feel like textbooks are eating your soul.
5) Finally, it doesn’t really matter..
Honestly, it really doesn’t. As a World Class Olympian of worrying, I can honestly tell you that most of the things that keep you up at night aren’t actually that important. The things that really matter are your family and friends and your general well being – everything else is white noise. A good exam result might mean a easy career path – but a bad one can be character building. Do your best and accept that ‘what will be will be’ – no matter how badly or well it goes.