I’ve *just finished* my GCSE mocks. Bleh for mocks but yay for the end! They kinda actually went OK – not the exams themselves (though all the results I’ve had back *so far* I’m pretty happy with) but as in coping. Like, not breaking down sobbing in a ball on my bedroom floor or jumping up and down tearing my hair out (that only happened once – FURTHER MATHS I HATE YOU. AND NORMAL MATHS). (Instead, I’ve exchanged angry, all-capitals texts with my friends and eaten truckloads of chocolate/tea and got ridiculously excited about small victories such as my messy bun staying messy and not cosplaying an imploding star. Elly called me goals because of that, guys. I’ve reached the pinnacle of my life, I may just have to leave now.)
Anyway, as I am clearly skating through my exams, I figured what better to do than share a few of my top tips for surviving?
- Designate comfort clothing. Preferably grey and fluffy. I’ve been wearing almost constantly since revision started grey trackies, my grey sports hoodie (my mum really doesn’t get why my sister and I wear these so much – answer is that they’re FLUFFY and GREY and JUST-THE-RIGHT-BIT-TOO-BIG and generally awesome) and my super cheap (£5) Primark Always Late sweater (which is so me I just couldn’t resist getting it). Anyway, point is that designated comfort clothing just makes revision that teensy bit less awful, for some reason.
- Spotify (preferably Premium). I’ve made myself a bumper revision playlist of instrumentals (Snarky Puppy, 2Cellos, The Piano Guys and the Vitamin String Quartet) and other relatively vocal-light music – think Kygo and Lost Frequencies. Whilst I can’t always revise with music, I often have it on in the background and Spotify is great because you can get almost any song on there. Premium especially, because it can be used offline (if you have to turn off your phone’s wifi to concentrate) and because no ads, woop.
- Have a designated comfort drink. aka drink gallons of tea. I don’t know why it works, but it does. Maybe it’s a British thing. Most tea-related things are.
- DO NOT get super into a new book (or even worse, series). YOUR CONCENTRATION WILL NOT BENEFIT. And do not, under any circumstances, take a five-minute break to read “one chapter”. It will almost inevitably turn into a five-hour break where you devour the entire book. Just don’t do it.
- Organise your notes. I didn’t really do this, which is bad, but I think it would be really beneficial to have all your notes ordered by subject and topic, so you’re not wasting twenty minutes trying to find a bunch of notes you KNOW you made, but can’t find. (*ahem* physics electromagnetism)
- Make sure you not only have a mega-banterous history chat, but at least one friend that actually knows about history. Night before the exam, our chat was on fire – the sarcasm was cutting edge, the wit truly incredible. However, nobody had a flippin’ clue about the Battle of Huai-Hui, which would have been rather helpful. Luckily, Google and other friends did. (Thanks, Maoist wiki!)
- Appreciate the small successes. Such as aforementioned messy bun goals. And make sure you have friends that will celebrate them with you. (I LOVE YOU FRIENDS)
- Make sure you have friends taking the same subjects that you can rant with. Who needs to revise when you have friends to rant and complain with? (No offence to China by the way, only the GCSE history course 😒)
- If you screw up an exam, put it behind you. Things will only get worse if you carry your disappointment into the rest of your exams, so just try and leave it behind you – you can’t change it, so just try and see how you can improve from your mistakes in future.
- De-stress after revision. As I mentioned in this post about my top tips for newbie runners, I love getting rid of all my revision angst or lack of concentration by going running. It doesn’t have to be that, but I would recommend something vaguely physical – even if just a random dance party for one in your room (or the kitchen. Not that I’ve ever done that.)
- And finally…chocolate! Or some other nice food. Maybe even something healthy (but where’s the fun in that?). Reward yourself between sessions with something, (I highly recommend the John Lewis praline penguins, I got some for Christmas and THEY’RE SO GOOD!) (Just praline in general, really) and it’ll help to keep you motivated! Also, reward yourself after exams – for example, Haribo Minions or leftover Chinese takeaway (YUM).
So there are my (maybe not entirely serious) tips for getting through exam season alive! I know not everybody has mock exams around now, but you can always bookmark this for the summer 🙂
What are your exam survival top tips?