So there’s a little less than 13 weeks until my exams start now, and it’s starting to stress me out quite a bit. I know there’s no point in stressing, because I’m doing all that I can, but of course it’s only natural to feel this way. Here are some of my tips on getting through the next few weeks with your sanity in tact!
Know exactly what you want. Honestly I think what’s helped me in studying the most is knowing exactly what I need out of each subject. It gives you something to work towards and ensures that you spend the right amount of time on your topics. For me, I want a B2 in English, a B3 in Irish, a D3 in ordinary level maths, a C1 in French, an A2 in Geography, a B1 in Home Ec and a B3 in Biology. When you first add up what you need, I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty daunting! But as the weeks go by and you get better and better at your subjects, it becomes more achievable and you start to feel a lot more optomistic. You might be finding it hard to achieve that B3 in Irish, but if you are, step up your game to get 1 grade higher in Biology instead!
Do NOT get hung up over your mocks. I’ve seen people absolutely devestated over their mock results, and I know it’s tough when you don’t get the result you’re working towards, but you need to remember that THEY’RE ONLY A TEST RUN! It would be ridiculous to expect to get your ideal points in the mocks, especially if they’re high. We don’t even have the full course covered in a lot of subjects, let alone revised! You could have been studying Geography since September, and be half way through revising the course, but have been completely unlucky in the mocks because nothing you studied came up. So is that an accurate reflection of how you’ll do in the real exams? No it is not! By then you’ll have a lot more topics covered and you’re gonna do a lot better. Remember that an average student goes up 10% in each subject from their mocks, and that’s just the average student, not the ones that work hard! Half the mocks aren’t even corrected properly, I have a feeling that my Biology mock was corrected by a young child or a chimp or something seeing as they forgot to add up my marks for half a long question. Yep. Idiot. So make sure you go through them yourself!
Study your mock paper. When you get your paper back, know where you went wrong and fill in all the right answers to make it A grade standard. Ask your teacher for the other mock paper too (they get sent one from DEB and one from ExamCraft) because these mocks are those companies predictions on what will come up on the real thing. Don’t rely solely on it, but be smart!
Don’t panic. As a person who suffered, and still does suffer a little, from anxiety, I know that’s easier said than done. But it becomes a more simple task once you know WHY it’s better to relax. For starters, our mind is split into two parts: your conscious mind, and your subconscious mind. Usually, we can’t get to our subconscious mind because we’re too busy listening to our conscious thoughts! But remember this, your subconscious mind is like a video recorder. It records every moment of your life, everything you’ve ever learned. So why can’t we remember everything? Because we’re too busy listening to our conscious thoughts of course! When you get into an exam and panic, thinking “Oh god is is it mitosis?! Is it binary fission?! What’s the answer? I don’t know any of this!” this is your conscious mind. If you take a few breaths and let your mind clear up of all these panicky thoughts you’re more likely to find the answer at the back of your head, in your subconscious mind. This is a technique that I find very effective!
Use different methods of study. For me, the same methods of study don’t work for every subject. For Home Ec, I can read over the chapter a few times and I’ll know it. For geography, all it takes for me is to write a sample answer out in my own handwriting, highlight key words, and look over it a few times. For English I use mind maps, I get grinds for Irish, and I have to write things out a million times before they’ll sink into my head for French. Flash cards are also a very effective method of studying, and so is completing exam paper questions although you may not think it. My advice for Home Ec and Biology would be to do all the exam paper questions on a chapter once you’ve finished that chapter. And I mean ALL of them; that way you figure out exactly which questions get asked most frequently. It’s all about being sly!
Analyse those exam papers. What I mean by this isn’t reading through them. What I’m about to explain takes a long time, and a lot of concentration, but can be extremely beneficial. I do this for Geography, Home Ec and Biology, and they did really help for the mocks. Taking Geography for example, what you need to do is make a list of every single sample answer that can come up. Yup, every last one. Once you’ve made that list, you need to figure out how many times it’s come up in the last few years (how common it is) and when the last time it came up was. This way, you can eliminate certain topics and focus on what’s more important. These three subjects are extremely predictable, and I can post my predictions another time if you guys want me to as long as you DO NOT RELY ON THEM 100% because as we all know from the Sylvia Plath crisis a few years back, predictions aren’t always accurate. You find out which topics are asked all the time, and can narrow down your workload, so it’s a win-win situation really!
Wow this was long, oops. Good luck to you all with your mock results, and as I said, don’t get too down if you don’t get what you want. Have faith in yourself and be optomistic; a negative mind set never created a positive outcome.