When everything is at your fingertips and all messaging is instant, it can be difficult to stay focused. So what’s a person to do when there are distractions around every corner?

Part of the reason it is so important to discover what your individual learning style is because it will help you to identify your ‘weak spot’ when it comes to distractions. For example, if you are a visual learner, you may become easily distracted if you not able to read or look at the content. If you are an auditory learner, you may be easily distracted by silence. If you are a kinaesthetic learner, you may find yourself fidgeting and becoming distracted if you are bored and disengaged.

For all learning styles, a major distraction is technology. We have done blog posts about how technology can be useful in your exam revision, however, it can also distract from the main purpose of your exam revision, which is to revise.

Here are some tips for how to focus:

Temporarily uninstall social media apps

If your Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook feed easily distracts you then perhaps it’s a good idea to remove temptation. You can always reinstall the apps once exams are done.

Work in blocks of time

Set an alarm for 25 minutes. Work on your studies (and only your studies) for the full 25 minutes. Once the alarm goes off, set your alarm for 5-10 minutes, which you can spend doing anything you like. Be disciplined and come back to your study area for another 25 minute cycle once your break is finished, and repeat the cycle.

This is a good way of consistently getting work done because your brain knows that there is a break coming up. Train yourself to really focus on what you’re doing for the 25 minutes that you are doing it.

Have a chat with your family

If your family are constantly interrupting you, it’s time to have a chat with them. Explain that the exam revision period is temporary and that you really need them to respect your space. Agree on a signal with them (for example, a ribbon on the door or if you have your headphones on), and instruct them not to disturb you. Explain what you need from them (for example, ask your little brother to keep the television off before 6 p.m.) and promise them a reward in return for their co-operation (perhaps your little brother needs help with a school project over the weekend?).

Take a break

Often, pushing through and not giving yourself time to rest or do something other than exam revision is counter-productive. Take time out of your day to read, relax, exercise and eat properly. Even just a 30-minute break every few hours is a good idea. Your brain needs time to rest or it won’t be able to work properly. And don’t even think about skimping on sleep!

Stay organised

Keep a to-do list for the day and cross off what you have completed. A study timetable will help you to prioritise what you need to accomplish. The Ace it! study guides can also help you to keep organised because they’re everything you need to get through your exams. Tick off the sections you have revised as you get through them for an at-a-glance view of how your exam revision is going.

Using technology to study

Technology is a part of our everyday lives, and we use it to do a variety of things. In this blog post, we will discuss using technology to study. We consider technology to include:

  • Devices, such as smart phones or MP3 players
  • The Internet (including social media)
  • Computer programmes, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Instant messaging (including WhatsApp and email)

Technology can be used in diverse and interesting ways and its use can be adapted to suit all of the different learning styles. This makes it an exciting addition to your study and exam revision routine. Before you start figuring out ways to include some of these tips in your own exam revision, please use caution in the following ways:

  • Ensure that you have your parents’ permission to use the Internet and/or family computer for this purpose (ask them to read this blog post about keeping you safe on the Internet).
  • Be picky about what you do include in your exam revision Not every tip that is suggested here is going to work for you. If you don’t have much time to experiment, rather pick one or two things for now and stick what you know works.
  • Ensure that the effort is worth the result. It’s no use spending four hours researching a topic that will count for only 2 marks in your exam…
  • Ensure that you stay focused while you are using the Internet or social media to study. It’s very easy to get distracted.

With that out of the way, here are some tips for using technology to study:

Create presentations for your study club

Using Microsoft PowerPoint, plus images and videos from the Internet, create a presentation that will clarify a specific topic for your study club. Split the content up amongst yourselves and set a date for the presentations, then wow your club with your knowledge while teaching them something too.

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Research a topic on your own

Not sure what your teacher meant when she tried to describe something to you in class. Try to find pictures or videos that explain it to you online. These can help to solidify a concept in your mind and form a mental picture of something. This is especially useful when difficult processes are being described. For example, if you are learning about how electricity is generated and then distributed on the electricity grid, an explanatory video may help to clarify things for you.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style

Learn ahead

Take charge of your own learning and research a topic before you cover it in class. This is a great way to get an overview of the content. It may also raise a few questions, which you can ask your teacher to explain in class. If you’re not sure what’s coming up, you can either ask your teacher to tell you, flip ahead in your textbook, look through your Ace it! study guide or download the curriculum document from the Department of Education’s website.

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Create study notes that work for you

If you are tempted to write out everything you know, consider typing it out into a program like Microsoft Word. Your hand will hurt less and it will go quicker. You’ll also be able to save multiple versions so you can edit the notes down, find patterns and eventually trim the notes so that they are more manageable.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style

Use apps on your phone to record yourself discussing the content. You can then play these back to yourself while you are at gym or travelling to school.

Best for: Learners with an auditory learning style

Learn how to use apps and software that will enable you to create interesting images and/or videos focused on the content (for example, try vimeo.com).

Best for: Learners with a kinaesthetic learning style

Get connected

Use WhatsApp and social media to create a study club. You could also collaborate with your study club using Google Drive, if you think this will work.

Best for: Learners with a visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning style

Go paperless

You can use the calendar and scheduling apps on your smart phone, or even Google or Yahoo! calendar products to create your study timetable and to store your notes. If you are used to using a pen-and-paper diary, then by all means continue. However, if you like having everything available on your phone or computer, then this is a good option for you.

Best for: Learners with a visual learning style


Are practice exams really worth doing?

One of the most common study tips for exam revision is for learners to do practice exams. These practice exams could be past papers that your school has used, past papers from the Department of Education or even practice exam questions such as the ones found in the Ace it! study guides.

We have recommended doing practice exams for all of the different learning styles, as they are a great way to get an understanding of what you can expect in the exams. For visual learners, they are a good way to write out what you know in a format that will suit the exam. For auditory learners, they present an opportunity to practise channelling what you know into an exam-appropriate format and, for kinaesthetic learners, they are a great way to revise because you’re actually doing something rather than just revising content. This can make the information stick in your mind more clearly.

Aside from this, what are the benefits of doing practice exams as part of your exam revision?

Well, first of all, they are a great way to familiarise yourself with the exam format. Each exam you write will have a predictable format. You need to know what this looks like before you walk into the exam room so that you feel less stressed and anxious. Doing practice exams will help you to understand how the exam will look when it is put in front of you, and it gives you an opportunity to practise answering the questions in a way that will score you the maximum number of marks. Most practice exams come with a memo, which you can use to mark your efforts – this will show you when you’ve answered too little, too much, too broadly or not broadly enough.

Secondly, practice exams can help you to understand the question words. So many learners know the content but fail to understand exactly what the question is asking them to do (this often applies to auditory learners in particular). Examiners are given a very clear marking memo, so it’s essential that you are answering the question correctly – not only in terms of the content but also in terms of what the examiner wants to see. For example, if the question asks you to “List…” you should not write a descriptive paragraph. Working with practice exams and their memos can help you refine this skill.

Lastly, practice exams can help to show up any gaps in your exam revision. You may think that you have covered all of your bases only to find that you actually don’t know enough about a particular topic in order to be able to answer questions on it in the exam. It’s essential that you build in time on your study timetable to do practice exams. Try to avoid doing this the day before the actual exam though, because that will not give you enough time to self-correct and go back to a particular section.

As you can see, practice exams are an essential part of exam revision. That’s why every Ace it! study guide contains practice exam questions.

Helping your teen cope with exam stress

In a previous blog post (Coping with exam stress), we discussed the importance of eating well, getting enough sleep, staying organised and making time for leisure activities and relaxation.

If you’re worried about your teen, and feeling unsure about how to help them cope with the pressures of exam revision, then read on.

Generally, stress and anxiety can be managed. It’s important to try and understand why your teen is feeling so stressed (and how they’re showing it). Without the proper tools and coping strategies, many people lash out in anger and frustration when they are stressed. Sometimes people’s stress can result in apathy and lethargy. The person (your teen) may be so stressed out that they feel overwhelmed and incapable of getting anything done.

Your teen is probably stressed for one, or all, of the following reasons:

  • They are feeling pressure to do well (from you, school, teachers or themselves)
  • They are feeling overwhelmed
  • They are feeling insecure or a lack of confidence
  • They are feeling anxious because they do not know what to expect.

Here’s how to help:

Remind your child that their best is good enough

Take the pressure off a little by asking your child to set realistic goals and expectations. It’s essential that you listen to your teen at this point and try to understand what they think they can do. Of course we always want to have high expectations for our children (and we should have these!) but we should also realise what is achievable.

For example, if your child’s extra-mural activities are eating into their exam revision time, something has to give. You may also find that there is a particular section or subject that your child is finding very difficult. Just because your child was once good at Maths, doesn’t mean that they will always be!

Listen carefully and try to help where you can. And align your expectations to what your child is able to achieve – without pressure.

Provide the right tools and environment to ease the pressure

It’s essential that your child eats well and gets enough sleep throughout the year, but most especially during the times that they are focused on exam revision. Help out by stocking the pantry and fridge with suitable food. Try to keep the noise down after about 10pm during the week to ensure that your child can get a restful night’s sleep.

Encourage your child to get organised and informed

Ask your teen to write a list of things that are causing worry and anxiety, and then help to draw up a plan to resolve these issues. Often a lack of clarity and information can make someone feel anxious, so encourage your child to ask questions about the format of the exam, the exam writing process and any other questions they may have, which are causing stress.

If your child is stressed about something that you have control over or can help with, then help to clear things up. For example, if your child is worried about transportation on exam days, try to come up with a plan and outline this for your child so that they can stop worrying about it.

Build your child up

A confident and secure child will do better and feel better than a child who is insecure and suffering from a lack of confidence. Remind your teen that you love them and that you are proud of them. Recognise when your child has tried their best, as opposed to only giving praise when they have met your expectations.

Avoid financial or material rewards for good marks. It’s important that your child learn to feel intrinsically rewarded when they do their best. Also avoid rewards that revolve around food, as this can create complicated relationships with food and emotional states.

Ace it! may not be able to help much with the emotional stress of exams but the study guides can help with exam revision by working out learners’ individual learning style, outlining the content and preparing for exams. The more prepared a learner is for the exams, the less stressed they will feel.

Coping with exam stress

When you are stressed and overwhelmed, seemingly straightforward tasks – like exam revision – can feel so much harder than they should. People cope with stress in different ways – some of these coping mechanisms are healthy, while others are unhealthy and unproductive. Learning to manage your stress, and to use coping mechanisms that will channel those feelings into productive feelings is an important life skill.

Believe it or not, a little bit of stress is a good thing. It keeps us focused and engaged. It also usually shows that we understand the value in something or how important it is. This is why people often feel stressed during exams.

Too much stress, however, can have the opposite effect and leave us feeling overwhelmed. This, in turn, leads to negative behaviours or unhealthy coping mechanisms, which only worsen the situation and create a vicious cycle.

Let’s look at some unhealthy ways of coping with stress:

  • Substance abuse
  • Lashing out at others in anger or frustration
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Emotional withdrawal from friends and family
  • Procrastination
  • Excessive exercising

When people feel stressed, they are often unable to concentrate on one task at a time. Stress, or feeling overwhelmed, can also lead to insomnia, or problems getting to asleep (or staying asleep). If you’ve ever felt like your mind is racing and you simply cannot calm down, then you are probably suffering from stress.

Learning to deal with stress positively means that you will be able to focus better, feel more relaxed and stay healthy. You will be able to cope with the pressures and demands of exam revision without feeling overwhelmed.

Here are some good ways to cope with stress:

  1. Eat well

A diet that is too high in sugar or unhealthy fat will put additional strain on your body. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, as this will keep your body and brain healthy and in tip-top condition.

  1. Get enough (quality) sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential and will ensure that your brain is rested and able to cope with the demands of exam revision. Teenagers need at least 8 hours of sleep per day, and this sleep should be quality sleep. In order to achieve a really restful night’s sleep, try the following tips:

  • Have a good sleep routine, and stick to it. This will alert your body to the fact that it needs to start shutting down for the day.
  • No electronics before bedtime – read a book instead. Try charging your phone in another room or, at least, putting it on charge somewhere you can’t reach it. Either switch it off, or put it on Night Mode so that it doesn’t beep or light up during the night.
  • Write a to-do list before you get into bed. If you find that your mind races the minute your light is switched off, then try writing a to-do list before you go to bed. This takes the pressure of you because you know that you will deal with everything you need to do in the morning. You can also write in a journal – putting your thoughts on paper can be useful for helping your brain to switch off.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink too many fluids just before bedtime.
  • Cut out caffeine. This includes chocolate and hot chocolate. Sorry.
  1. Stay organised

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you haven’t got a plan. Make time to put together a comprehensive study timetable. When you feel like you have some control over the situation, you will probably find that you are a little less stressed.

  1. Make time for yourself

Make time in your daily schedule to exercise, relax and spend time with friends and family. Your exam revision is your top priority right now, but that doesn’t mean that you should only study. It’s important for your overall well being to look after yourself and to connect regularly with people who love and support you.

TIP: It may be helpful to disconnect from social media during exam time. The added pressures of social media can add to your stress levels. Rather uninstall the apps for a short period so that you are able to focus on your studies and connecting with people in real life.

  1. Understand that it’s temporary

It’s important for you to remember that this is not going to last forever. Often, when we are in the middle of exam revision, we feel like we cannot see an end to it all. There is one! Hang up a calendar with the day of your last exam circled in red, cross out each day until you get to it – knowing that it’s coming will help you feel less hopeless.

Lastly, if you are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless for a long period of time and if you are having depressive and suicidal thoughts, talk to your parents, teacher, principal, religious or community leader, or contact an organisation like ChildLine. You are not alone.

Eating for success

High school can be a stressful time, which is why we have always advised that you take care of your overall wellbeing. There are plenty of study tips that we can give you to improve your exam revision, but those will only go so far. You also need to be taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing by eating well, exercising and finding time to relax.

Eating well is essential for good health. It’s unnecessary to overthink every bite you put into your mouth but you should understand some basic principles of healthy eating.

You can’t go wrong with plants

Most of your meals should consist of vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, baby marrow, carrots, beetroot, aubergine/eggplant/brinjal, cucumbers, etc. Vegetables are full of important vitamins and minerals to keep your body at optimal health. There are plenty of ways to cook and prepare vegetables, so do some experimenting.

Fruit is also a healthy addition to your diet. Some types of fruit are high in sugar so be careful not to overdo it. Try adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast meal, and one other during the day as a snack. It’s easy to overdo the dried fruit too so, even though it’s delicious, try not to have too often.

Protein: not only for meat-eaters

Protein is essential for the body. It helps to repair and build cells – including brain cells. Protein also tends to keep you fuller for longer, so adding it to meals can prevent hunger pangs, which can be distracting during classes and study sessions, and overeating.

Protein sources include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products like cottage cheese, and peanut and other nut butters.

If you are vegetarian or vegan (whether for religious, health or moral reasons), you should still be adding protein to your diet in some form. Sources include beans, nut butters, quinoa and lentils.

Carbs are not as evil as their reputation suggests

Carbohydrate-rich foods should be included in your diet in reasonable amounts. These include brown rice, potatoes, wholegrain bread and other wholegrain products and oats.

Avoid processed and sugary carb-heavy foods such as cereals, pastries, biscuits and white breads and pastas.

Healthy fats: Essential for a hardworking teenager

Don’t be afraid to add healthy fats to your meals, as these are essential for optimal brain function. These include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts.

Unhealthy fats, found in baked and fried foods, as well as sweets and desserts, should be limited and only eaten occasionally as a treat.

Don’t forget about your beverages

It’s important not to forget about what you are drinking on a daily basis. Sugary drinks like sodas should be avoided. Rather reach for clean, fresh water to quench your thirst.

If you feel like something warm, herbal teas are also a good option and better for you than coffees and hot chocolate.

Eating well doesn’t need to be difficult. You simply need to use your common sense and eat to nourish your mind and body.

What to do about those results

When the exams are over and the results are in, you may feel one of two ways about your child’s report card: thrilled or underwhelmed.

If you feel thrilled, then good for you! Clearly your child’s hard work is paying off. However, if you’re not satisfied with the results and can’t help feeling, well, a bit disappointed, it can be difficult to contain these emotions in front of your child.

Here are some tips on how to handle your child’s exam results, whether they are excellent or not so excellent.

Consider how your child is feeling about their poor results

Before you react to your child’s poor exam results, consider how they are feeling. It’s no use piling on the negative sentiment if they’re already a bit down in the dumps. Tell your child that you will need to have a discussion about the results but put it off for one more day. Then spend the day commiserating and just being there for your child. One more day won’t make a difference, and right now your child needs to know that they have your support.

Have a meeting

Set a time and date to meet with your child in a neutral spot, such as the kitchen or dining room table. A coffee shop or restaurant is even better. Once you and your child are settled, ask them to explain to you how they approached their exam revision and where they feel they went wrong. Try not to interrupt and certainly don’t interject with disparaging or negative comments.

If it seems clear that your child put no effort into their exam revision, then you will need to find a way to motivate them to do better. Perhaps this is where trying to find a different approach to studying is a good idea. Explore the possibility that your child is unmotivated because they are struggling to keep up or bored… Investigate study techniques that are suited to different learning styles.

If your child tells you that they tried the best they could, believe them. In a case like this small tweaks to a study routine might be the answer. Ask how the actual exams went – many children do just fine throughout the school year only to find the high-stress exam days challenging. Writing exams is a skill that anyone can learn.

The Ace it! study guides includes information and study tips that can help your child find a study method that works best for them.

Don’t have tunnel vision

Getting a solid education is absolutely essential, there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s not the only marker of success. A child’s self-esteem is sensitive – be proud of the things that your child is good at, and try not to be overly critical about the things that they aren’t so good at.

A child with a good self-esteem can do much better than a child with a low self-esteem.

Your child may be good at sports, have artistic flair or be excellent at working with their hands. Focus on your child’s loyalty, kind heart and good manners. Don’t be so easily frustrated with them; rather focus on how hard they try and how they continue to persevere.

You clearly have big dreams for your child, and this makes you a good parent. Try not to impose your own wishes and dreams onto your child, and to rather help them achieve their own.

Work hard, play hard

Your studies should be a top priority for you but there’s one priority that is more important – and it will be the most important priority throughout your life: You!

In this blog post, we explore the importance of having a good balance between studying and relaxing and how to juggle everything you have going on in your life effectively. In a previous blog post, we wrote about how to set up a study timetable for your exam revision. In that post, we discussed setting aside time for relaxation and socialising, as well as time for exercising.

Stress is unavoidable. However, too much stress and stress over a long period of time can have a really negative effect on your health and wellbeing. It can also have a negative effect on your marks! Stress can make it difficult to concentrate, affect your sleep and it could lead to depression and anxiety.

It’s very important that you learn how to balance your studies with fun and relaxation so that you can keep your mind and body in tip-top health.

Being able to manage your time so that you have a balanced life is a life skill that will serve you well long after high school.

Get some sleep

Start with the knowledge that a good night’s sleep is essential for optimal health. Sleep can also have a positive effect on your ability to study harder and remember what you’ve learnt. Don’t be tempted to skip sleep for too many nights in a row. A refreshed and relaxed mind is much better able to manage stress.

Teenagers need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. You should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every night and morning.

TIP: If you are struggling to fall asleep, try cutting out caffeine (found in coffee, some teas and even chocolate). If you can’t sleep because you feel stressed, then try writing a to-do list for the next day before bed. This can help to put aside your anxiety for the evening because you know that you will deal with it in the morning.

Exercise – not only for your body, for your mind too

Not only is some form of daily exercise good for your health, it can also help to alleviate anxiety and stress. For many people, exercise is the first thing that gets cancelled when life gets busy. Try not to do this: it’s only 30 minutes to an hour out of your day. In fact, the break might make your studying more effective, and you’ll certainly feel better.

Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. It can be as simple as a 30-minute walk, or it can be an hour-long jog. If you have a gym membership, try out the different classes to see what you enjoy. Most gyms will have yoga classes if you prefer a slower pace, or you could do a fun dance/aerobics class like Zumba.

If you do an extramural sport at school or at a club, this absolutely counts towards your exercise quota for the week! Keep it up!


People who make time to be with their friends and family are generally healthier. Plan ‘dates’ with your parents, siblings or other family members, as well as your close friends. Try to plan activities that everyone will enjoy, such as seeing a movie, going for a long walk, going out for breakfast, etc.

Whatever you do, ensure that you put your phones away and focus on being together.

Spend time with people who make you feel good. It’s no use spending time with someone who drains your energy and makes you feel low.

…but also spend time alone

You also need to think of activities to do that you find relaxing and enjoyable, and that you can do quietly on your own. This is an excellent way to unwind. You could set aside an hour or two of uninterrupted time on a Sunday evening, for example, to relax and prepare yourself for the week ahead.

Some ideas include:

  • Reading a book (that isn’t a setwork!)
  • Reading your favourite magazine
  • Drawing/Writing/Painting
  • Watching your favourite movie
  • Cooking or baking
  • Giving yourself a manicure or pedicure
  • Meditating
  • Listening to a podcast that you enjoy

TIP: Try not to spend your alone time online (especially not on social media). Social media can cause a lot of negative emotions to surface. You should emerge from your alone time feeling refreshed and relaxed, not even more stressed out!

Of course, you do need to study too! Not doing the appropriate amount of revision will cause you more stress, so don’t put it off. There may be times when you aren’t able to schedule any time off for yourself. That’s fine for a short period of time (for example, if you have three assignments due in the same week or a very full exam week) but be sure to set aside a few days or a weekend to unwind once the crunch time is over.

Mind mapping

Of all of the different learning styles, the visual learning style is the best suited to traditional exam revision methods, such as mind mapping. Visual learners will respond well to these colourful summaries of the content. This is not to say that auditory learners and kinaesthetic learners shouldn’t use mind maps; they can actually be pretty effective for you too.

A bad mind map is useless and ineffective. It’s important to know how to develop them properly, or they’ll just be a waste of time and paper.

Here are some tips to help you learn how to mind map so that you don’t waste time or paper.

Firstly, gather your tools. You will need:

  • Sheets of plain paper (A3 if you can get it, otherwise A4 will do)
  • Black marker
  • Black pen
  • Different colour pens OR highlighters OR pencil crayons
  • Sticky notes

The most important thing to remember about mind mapping is that it is a way to see the main ideas/components of a section at a glance, and how those ideas are connected.

Start by reading through the section you want to summarise, and making a note of the main ideas.


Draw your mind map with these ideas in mind.

Now, read through the section again. For each of the main ideas, you should identify related ideas.

Using a black pen, jot these down on your mind map.

Now, set aside your textbook or notes and focus on what you know or remember about the content. Using different colours, make notes for yourself, write examples that illustrate the point, draw doodles that help to explain things and connect different ideas. You can also use sticky notes to add more examples or to test yourself.


Your mind map is now complete! If you are a visual learner, you can simply use your mind maps as visual reminders of the content. If you are an auditory learner or a kinaesthetic learner, use your mind map to explain the content to a friend or helpful parent or sibling.


Setting up a study timetable

When it comes to time management, there are three types of people:

  1. The procrastinator:

This person underestimates how much time they’ll need to study and so believes that they have plenty of time left. They’re usually cramming late into the night before the exam, and sometimes even just before the exam.

  1. The overachiever

This person does nothing but study. There’s no time for fun or relaxation. By the time the exams roll around, this person is so frazzled that it’s a miracle they can hold a pen, never mind answer questions with it.

  1. The disorganised

This poor soul tries their best but is so disorganised that they’re always underprepared. They’ll spend hours revising a section, only to discover that it’s not even examinable!

Recognise any of these types? They all have one thing in common: None of them know how to set up a study timetable.

A good study timetable will ensure that you are organised, prepared and even relaxed by the time you write your exam. Learning how to manage your time effectively is an important study skill and life skill.

  1. Choose your format

You may want to use an online calendar (for example Google Calendar) to do your planning, or you may prefer a good old-fashioned diary. You could also download and print this study timetable. Add colour and stickers and put it somewhere you can see it daily (like the fridge).

  1. Get your exam timetable

Your exam timetable should include details of the exam, for example the paper that you will be writing (i.e. English Paper 1 or Life Sciences Paper 2), the time of the exam and the venue. Fill in this information on your study timetable (include all of the specifics).

  1. Write down what you need to know

For every exam that you will be writing, jot down the sections that you will need to study. Remember to do this for every exam and not necessarily every subject. You will write more than one exam for some subjects and it’s important to know what each exam will be testing.

  1. Work backwards and plan your study sessions

This part will take a bit of time. In two or three-hour blocks, work backwards from each exam and write down the sections that you will need to study. Try not to do more than two or three study sessions per day. Also try not to plan to study a section the day before the exam. Rather block off some time to do some revision for that exam the day before. This will help you feel calmer and more in control.

  1. Now add the fun stuff

Now try to schedule in some recreational and relaxation activities. Start with family outings, birthdays, church gatherings, etc. and then add at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Try to do something fun once a week, like see a movie with friends. Don’t try to do too much, as this will only make you feel more stressed.

Once you’re happy with your study timetable, and you’ve checked that it isn’t too demanding (or too relaxed!), make it as colourful or attractive as you like, put it somewhere you can see it and look at it every morning. If it’s electronic, set reminders and alarms so that you don’t forget to look at your to-do list for the day. Things may change and need shifting around sometimes but you should be disciplined enough to stick to your plan as much as possible.

Draw a line through every successful day so that you can see how far you’ve come. Before you know it, the exams will be over and you’ll have aced them!