Charlotte Tilbury (UK)

Study Tips: How To Sail Through Exam Season

Whether you're studying for your end of year exams or facing the Leaving Cert, we have all of the study tips to help you.

It felt like it was so far away, but just like that exam season is upon us.

Whether you’re studying for your end of year exams or facing the Leaving Cert, we have all of the study tips to help you.

Study Tips: The Dos and Don’ts

  • DO make sure you’ve got all of your pens, textbooks and past papers BEFORE you sit down. Spending 20 minutes searching for your calculator isn’t studying. Sorry!
  • DON’T believe your friends when they say they’re not doing tap. They are, trust us.
  • DO look back over old homework. Re-reading stuff you’ve already covered makes it easier to remember.
  • DON’T be tempted to just switch your phone to silent. Switch it OFF and hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door so you won’t get distracted.
  • DO study in blocks of 50 minutes out of every hour and a do have a short break for 10 minutes before you start another 50 minutes. Your brain needs regular breaks, the poor thing.
  • DON’T leave your least favourite subject until last, otherwise you’ll somehow find a way of not getting around to it.
  • DO get some one-on-one advice from your teachers, that’s what they’re there for.
  • DON’T study in groups if you know deep down you’ll end up discussing the latest Riverdale plotlines.
  • DO plan ahead and make a study timetable. And stick to it!
  • DON’T spend two days colour coordinating and adding glitter to your study timetable.
  • DO give yourself a day off every week. And don’t waste a second of it thinking about exams either.
  • DON’T think that you need three revision books for each subject – they all contain the same information.
  • DO make sure that your family knows how much pressure you’re under rather than just biting their heads off all the time.
  • DON’T swamp your brain. If you spend the morning swotting up on Chemistry, try a totally different subject, like English, in the afternoon.
  • DO think positive. Freaking out and thinking, “It’s too late for me now. I don’t stand a chance!”, won’t do anyone any good.
  • DON’T just aim to pass. Reach for the stars and you might just surprise yourself.
  • DO have something lined up to reward yourself at the end – a dinner in that restaurant you’ve wanted to try, a whole weekend binge-watching your favourite TV shows, treating yourself to that new eyeshadow palette, a Leaving Cert holiday…whatever it is keep it in mind while you put in the work now. It will be worth it!
  • DON’T listen to people who say that their brother’s, friend’s, cousin did no studying at all for the LC and got 500 points. They are lying! Either that or they’re Einstein reincarnated!

No Stress, Just Success

Having a nervous breakdown thanks to chronic study guilt? Take a deep breath and give the following a bash:

Pre-Exam

  • Get plenty of sleep in the run-up. Studies show that teens need more than nine hours a night to function properly and you always feels better after lots of zzzs!
  • Having trouble nodding off? Keep a notepad by your bed and jot down anything that pops into your head. Now relax.
  • If you’re feeling jittery, try some relaxation exercises. Sit cross-legged on the floor and tighten all the muscles in your body, hold for 10 seconds, the release and enjoy the sensation.
  • Try something like Rescue Remedy Spray to calm the nerves.

During the Exams

  • Read ALL of the questions properly and scribble down any notes that jump into your head. If you freak out later they might jog your memory.
  • Always start with the question you’re most confident with, but move on the second its allocated time is up. Come back to it at the end if you have a spare few minutes.
  • Don’t get panicked if you see everyone around you writing booklet after booklet. The examiners are after quality not quantity and then can spot waffle a mile off.

Post Exam

  • Don’t be tempted to carry out a post-mortem. Ever. Instead, sit down with your friends and talk about anything but exams. It’ll probably be sunny, so relax and catch some much-needed rays.
  • When you get home, give yourself a breather and take an hour or so to relax and to put away all the books and notes for that subject. Feel free to kick them (hard) under your bed.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back and mark that exam off your calendar. The end is nigh, go you!

Brain Food

In case you didn’t know it, what you eat ultimately determines how well your body ticks over. And guess what, your brain is a massive part of your body. So, eating right before and during your exams, can have a massive impact on how well your memory works.

Food For Thought

  • Skinless chicken, lean meat and tofu are all jam-packed with protein and enzymes, which help keep you alert.
  • Wholegrain pasta, brown rice, potatoes and other carbs will help you feel full, so you can concentrate.
  • Essential fatty acids, found in salmon, brazil nuts and avocados are essential for overall brain health and also help you focus.

Load of Rubbish

  • You might think that caffeine and energy drinks will help you concentrate, but they actually make you more prone to distractions. Avoid them and aim to drink 2 litres of water a day instead.

The very best of luck to everyone studying for exams!x

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