Published: 20 May 2015

Staying motivated for summer exams

Students in an exam room

School of the Arts student, Woon Yen Loi, offers her views on preparing for summer exams.

“The thought of sitting for the end-of-year exams will undoubtedly feel daunting, even though you have sat many exams in your lifetime. It is often the atmosphere of anticipation leading up to exams that increases stress levels, but stress can also help us stay focused and motivated.

Too much stress, however, can play havoc with our ability to concentrate and absorb information. It is therefore important to take control of the situation by balancing and improving your lifestyle during this busy period.

Here are some of my tips to help you prepare for your big day!

  1. Get enough sleep

As tempting as it is to stay up for late-night revisions, it is really important that you have your full seven to eight hours sleep. Lack of sleep will make you feel lethargic and uninspired throughout the day and will consequently affect the quality of your revision.

  1. Have a ‘champion’ breakfast

As cliché as it sounds, a healthy breakfast makes all the difference to your day. It is even better if you can get up early and prepare your own breakfast. A simple oatmeal (topped with lots of dried-fruits and nuts), eggs and toast with jam, yoghurt, or porridge will do the trick!

  1. Walk, jump, stretch, repeat!

Revising for the whole day can be straining to our bodies. If your shoulders or back are aching, that means your body is asking you to stop. Take a break and get some fresh air.  A brisk walk around the campus, or alternatively, make full use of your gym membership. There are excellent stretching exercises such as Yoga or Pilates that can help relieve stress.

  1. Take lots of mini-breaks

Mini-breaks are essential in helping you through a long revision day. Cramming lots of information for long hours will be unproductive.

  1. Stock up on brain food

Blueberries, nuts, tomatoes and oily fish have been regarded as some of the most effective brain foods for exams. Avoid sugary and carbohydrate-rich food such as muffins, crisps, cookies, chocolates and sweets that will block your attention and result in constant fatigue.

  1. Draw up a timetable and stick to it

It is easy to just let time slip away. Give yourselves targets and goals on what to achieve by the end of the day. Time can be easily wasted on social media and online videos. So it is crucial to set yourself an effective & realistic timetable. It will make a huge difference!

  1. Treat yourself!

If you’ve been disciplined and stuck to your revision plan, treat yourself with something nice – an ice-cream, a movie, etc. This is positive reinforcement and has proved to be effective in many areas. It does not only help in boosting your confidence but also encourages you to work better and harder next time!

  1. Be mindful

This period leading up to exams is crucial, so be mindful of how you feel and think. If you feel positive, then that’s great. But if you feel negative, be aware of that and try to acknowledge it. Talk to your close friends or family members and come up with a solution on how you can address the problem.

  1. Catch-up with your friends

The exam period can be extremely busy, but make sure you catch-up with friends. Just asking how each other are can effectively boost your mood. In the end, you will never be on your own as everyone will be working hard for the big day.

  1. Keep calm and know that all will be well

At the end of the day, having the right frame of mind and attitude will determine your success.

Good luck everyone!”

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