It’s been a strange and stressful year for the Glenroy College Class of 2021. Lockdowns, school shutdowns and remote learning have all taken their toll. And now, despite all the Covid hiccups and hurdles, we’ve made it through and it’s time to face the final exams.
You might be feeling stressed as exams approach. You might worry about whether you’ve done enough work during the year. Or you might be feeling quite confident and ready to go. However you’re feeling, know that your Year 12 teachers are here to help and support you to do your best.
To that end, here are 9 useful strategies to use to help you get through the next few weeks.
1. Make study notes
Do this for every subject. Use colours, arrows and shapes to make important pieces of information stand out so that it’s easier to remember. Go over your notes regularly. You can make notes on regular pieces of paper or sticky notes, if that’s your thing. Stick the really tricky ones on the bathroom mirror so you see them every time you wash your hands or brush your teeth.
2. Make a study schedule
Look at your exam timetable and make a schedule that shows how many days or weeks there are until each exam. This will let you see how much time you have to study for each subject. Try and include time for each subject at least twice a week. Give yourself some time in the schedule to relax too. If you have a part-time job, consider taking time off during the actual exam period.
3. Read information out loud.
Studies show that one of the best ways to remember information is to say it out loud. Pick the key things from your physics or legal studies notes, for example, that you need to remember and read them aloud to yourself. Do the same for key quotes from the English novel you are studying. It might feel weird but this really will help the information get stuck in your head more easily than if you’re just reading silently to yourself. Science says so!
4. Teach someone
Grab a parent, sibling or friend and tell them everything you know about a particular subject or a topic. This will help you see what you already know about a subject – it might be more than you think – and can also show you what you need to work on. Try it, it works!
5. Practise past exam questions
This is the best way to get used to what sort of questions might be on your exam and how long it will take you to answer them. There are copies of exams across all subjects from past years in the College library. Use them to test yourself. The library also has copies of Cambridge Study Guides, which include many questions from past years’ exams. Make a list of questions to ask your teachers. And ask them! This is not the time to be shy.
6. Get enough sleep
Yawning your head off in an exam and being too tired to concentrate is not going to do you much good. So make sure you get a good night’s sleep, not just the night before the exam, but in the days and weeks leading up to it too. You need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night. Turn off your phone or games console and get to bed by 11pm. On the night before an exam, set an alarm and ask someone else in your house to set one too, to make sure you wake up on time. And don’t go to an exam on an empty tummy, even if you feel too nervous to eat.
7. Put your phone away
Yes, put it away. Nothing will distract you more while you’re trying to study than a flashing, buzzing, beeping phone going crazy on your desk. Leave it in another room so you’re not tempted to check it while you’re studying. Set yourself a time – at least one hour – to focus on the work you need to do. Then reward yourself with a five minute break to scroll your socials or check messages. And stick to it.
8. Read the exam questions carefully
It’s exam day. You made it on time. And you brought plenty of pens and pencils and all the things you need with you. Excellent! Now make sure you read the exam instructions and questions carefully during the allotted reading time. When you’re allowed to start writing, make a quick list of any facts or information you want to include so that you don’t forget. Make sure your essays have an introduction and a conclusion. You don’t have to answer the questions in order – tackle the easy ones first if you like -but it’s a good idea to try and answer them all. If a question is too tricky or you get stuck, mark it and come back to it later. If the exam questions are multiple choice and you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to guess.
9. Don’t leave your exam early
Finished early? Great! But don’t put down your pens and walk out. Use the time to go over each question and check your answers. Have you given enough information? Have you used enough technical terms? Do your answers make sense? Fix any spelling or grammar mistakes you spot. Check that you’ve followed the instructions and filled in all your information correctly on the answer books. Then double check everything.
Good luck to all our Year 12 students as you prepare for your final exams. All exams will be held in the PAC, starting with the English exam on 27 October. Remember, you’ve got this!
And if your parents ask how your study is going or what they can do to help, show them this article about what parents can do to support Year 12 students during exams.