Contributed by Warren James and Joni- Ann Berry
Well, it’s that time again. Exams are right around the corner. But wait, don’t curl up into a ball and start crying just yet, because we’ve got some tips to make the end bosses of your grade level not seem so evil.
Tip 1: USE THE SYLLABUS!!!!
Now this especially applies to all of you guys who have gone through the torture leading up to your CSEC and CAPE exams. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using your syllabi and past papers. They’re the closest you can get to a cheat sheet in the exam without having the entire Caribbean needing to re-sit the exam. You can find your syllabi for every single one of your subjects at https://cxc-store.com/ . Just make an account (for free) and find the syllabi for your subjects (which are also free). While your teachers are going through topics, always make reference to your syllabus and keep them in check by making sure they go through what they need to go through. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher if they haven’t covered something. Remember, CXC has the right to test you on ANYTHING that’s on your syllabus, so you leaving off any morsel of it is you telling CXC “here, take these marks you’ve so graciously handed to me.”
Tip 2: Start now…… Seriously
Okay, so you’ve probably heard this a million times. Start studying as soon as possible. Now, when I say as soon as possible, I mean as soon as you’re taught a topic, practise it. Find questions related to the topic either on past papers or from your text books and work through them. Not only will your grades in school be much better, but it removes the stress of having to cram for exams. The earlier you start internalising the information you learn in class is the less you’ll have forgotten by the time exams roll around. Your aim is to just be revising when exams roll around so you can get a nice full night’s sleep before all your exams. Now that leads us to….
Tip 3: Sleep
Now, as high school students, there is nothing that we love more than sleep (I say as I write this article at one in the morning. Never said I followed these tips folks, so try to learn from my mistakes and not yours). There is nothing more conducive to learning than getting a good night’s rest. And now you must be asking the same question I asked when I was told the same thing: “How the heck do you find time to sleep when you have tests, homework, classwork, IAs, clubs, sports and extra classes?” And to that, I say good question… Moving on
Tip 4 …..
I’m just kidding guys, the key to getting adequate amounts of sleep goes right back to Tip 2. Start now. The hardest part about doing any kind of work is starting. So that means, if you start your assignments as you get them and start studying as early as possible, you’ll end up with enough time to sleep and get your work done and do all those lovely extra-curricular activities that make your transcript look oh so sweet… um, I mean, that we do because we are all well rounded individuals.
Tip 4: Exercise
Exerciseeee that sweat-inducing smelly arm producing activity that we stopped doing on a weekly basis in 3rd form. Welp, it’s time to get active again because it helps in revving up your brainpower. One thirty minute session helps to pump extra blood to your brain. This will deliver the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. Did you know that exercise also floods the brain with the necessary chemicals that intensify functions such as memory, problem solving, and decision making?
Fun fact: New research has found that exercise may even cause permanent positive structural changes to the brain itself.
While you work out your heart, you’re also working your brain out.
Tip 5: Make Time for you
Time, the friend we’ve all lost and can’t seem to get a hold of no matter how many times you may try calling. Making time for yourself comes in two ways: making time for relaxation and making time to study. Basically, months leading up to examinations, you need as much me-time as possible.
Find adequate time to relax, free from the pressures of school and social life. In this way you won’t feel flustered with multiple responsibilities but have time to sort and organize yourself.
In reference to study time: Find time after school, maybe on a day that you leave late and have no clubs, to read alone, or maybe in a productive group setting. You need to set aside time for your schoolwork as well as your extra-curricular activities. At least two hours of your time should be set aside to study at night time.
Tip 6: Try to make studying fun
Studying can be fun in multiple ways.
Firstly, you can buy coloured pens and highlighters to make your notes look more exciting to look at. While this is important, try not to flood your notes with a rainbow as it will be distracting; stick to a maximum of 3 colours of the same shade preferably. Not only will this be exciting but not to the point where your brain will become confused.
Secondly, try making games involving the material you’ll be studying. In a group setting, this can be done by playing teacher. One friend may ask questions and whichever student gets it right will get a prize. Another fun game you could try playing is “Pon di river, Pon di bank”. One friend may stay on the bank and the other friends may stay on the other side of a drawn line (in the river). The friend on the bank will ask questions related to the topic. The students in the river may only come out if they answer a minimum of 5 questions correctly. They will be pushed back into the river if they answer three questions incorrectly while on the bank.
Finally, you could try awarding yourself with personal favourites by completing allotted study material. Not only will you become more motivated to achieve your personal goals but you will be satisfied at what you have achieved through your own dedication.
Lucky Tip 7: O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N
Organize your life. Seriously. Notes. Locker. Classroom. Everything.
There is nothing more annoying than having one book full of notes from multiple classes. You will become discombobulated at the array of subjects and will as a result, be very unmotivated to pick up your books and get down to work.
Organize your locker kids. If your locker looks like a hurricane just hit a house and blew off the roof, then your results will resemble the same visual. Organize your books in terms of height and/or subject. In this way you’ll know exactly which books are missing (because we knowww the thieves are out looking for notes when the time comes).
Clean the classroom. If your environmental monitor isn’t committed to cleanliness, then you should be. I’m not sure who on Earth can learn in filth but it is a known fact that Clean and Clear Environs create clear minds. If your environment is messy then so will be your mind.
Get to cleaning.
~We wish you the best in your exams!~