Firstly, it has to be said that there is no substitution for hard work. You cannot go into the exams if you are not prepared academically. But more about that at another time. This guide is aimed at what you can do to prepare yourself emotionally for the exam season.
The link between emotion and learning is very clear. If your mental health is not as good as it should be, you will find that your learning and academic performance is hindered. To get the most out of yourself academically you need to be healthy physically, psychologically and socially. A little bit of stress can be useful as it can motivate. But too much of it spills over into anxiety at which point you will simply not perform anywhere near optimal levels.
Here are my top tips to help you secure the best physical, psychological and social health.
Diet: You should know what a good, balanced diet is and what foods should be avoided or limited. If you don’t know, this is a good time to educate yourself. The link between food and mood is very clear. A good diet also includes plenty of water. The exam period is hard work and will sap a lot of energy. You need to be well fed in order for your brain to work as hard as you would like it to. If you have not seen this article, have a read of it now. https://www.bbc.com/food/diets/good_mood_food
Exercise: Aim to get some exercise daily, even it means walking to and from school. Or, if you rely on public transport, get off a stop or two earlier. Exercising outdoors is always better but going to the gym is by far preferable to not exercising at all. I would even suggest exercising with a friend. Exercise is a brilliant way to switch off. But going for a run, for example, also gives you time to consolidate what you have been working on. If you play for a team, try and honour as many of the fixtures as you can. The social side of exercise is very important to your wellbeing too. If you have 20 minutes, go and have a listen to this interview: https://www.hgi.org.uk/resources/delve-our-extensive-library/interviews/mind-body-connection-radio-interview
Sleep: Get into a good sleep routine in the weeks building up to the exam period. Think ahead. If you know that morning exams always start at 9, what time do you need to wake up so that you can have a decent, relaxing breakfast and get to school without having to rush. Then work backwards to ensure a good eight hours sleep. And then make that your normal bed time for the duration of the exam period. This article explains a little about sleep and its importance to our mental health: https://www.hgi.org.uk/resources/delve-our-extensive-library/dreaming/importance-sleep-why-we-need-it
In Part 2, I will be looking at your social life, relaxation and planning