How to revise well for exams? 8 things to know.

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Examination tests, in particular the baccalaureate, approaches. After a long year of schooling, here is the time for the final stretch to prepare for the upcoming exam. This period is particularly stressful: it is necessary to reactivate the memory of the courses, to synthesize and to face its gaps which have not all been filled . This exam revision period is a kind of moment of truth.

Here are some tips (scientifically validated) that will allow you to revise your exam in the best conditions.

  1. Avoid heavy cramming

Setting a goal of wanting to revise and work 4  hours in a row is the best way to not achieve it and at worst to waste your time. Memorization is really effective if you work in intervals! Work and study hard and focused for 20-50 minutes. Then give yourself a 5-10 minute break before resuming work for 20-50 minutes. 20 mins or 50 mins? There are no rules. It depends on everyone’s ability to concentrate. This rhythm allows a better fixation of information in the long-term memory

  1. Regular cardio workouts

studies (2) indicate that 20 minutes of cardio each day can significantly improve your memory. No need to join a gym. It can be a brisk walk, a jog or even a night out dancing. Practicing these simple cardio exercises will increase your energy level and significantly reduce your stress level. Very important

  1. Pay attention to your diet and favor foods rich in antioxidants

It’s well known: having a good breakfast on the day of the exam is very important to replenish your energy and get through the day when the expense will be high: think that brain activity is one of the activities(along with digestion) which consumes the most energy. Scientific studies (3) suggest that foods high in carbs, high in fiber, slow to digest, like oatmeal, are much better (oatmeal is more satisfying than cereal). But what you eat a week or even a fortnight in advance is just as important. In a study 16 college students with a high fat, low carbohydrate diet (resulting in a high consumption of meat, eggs, cheese and even cream) were tested. Cameron Holloway, a researcher at the University of Oxford who conducted this study found that following this diet the intellectual performance of hisstudents was significantly reduced. The other group of students who followed a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables, saw their intellectual performance stabilized or even slightly improved.

Know that when you study, your brain needs to consume glucose, so pay attention to your diet. During a review day where your concentration and your other cognitive faculties will be called upon, take the time to have a healthy snack (for example almonds, fruit and yogurt, etc.) which will supply your brain with energy.

  1. Alternate review locations

Spending the whole day revising in the library can be exhausting, in any case more tiring than changing revising places, for example in a café, at home or at a friend’s house. According to the New York Times all it takes is a change of location for a person to improve their working capacities. In one experiment, psychologists found that students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms – one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view of a courtyard – did significantly better .on the final knowledge test than students who studied the 40-word list in the same room. For what? Apparently, the brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it may have. So when it’s time for your revisions, try to alternate your places of work between the library, a study room and a quiet café.

5.Take care of your time management

Cramming causes anxiety and stress, which reduces your ability to retain information. Carefully plan your review days with specific and realistic goals. Make sure you have time to pause. This will allow you to focus on the day’s work and anchor yourself in the present moment. This is how you can evacuate a good part of the stress generated by the approach of the exam date.

  1. Avoid busy days and sleepless nights

It is known, a large part of high school students, students concentrate their revision effort on a few days not hesitating to spend sleepless nights of revision or at least, if this is not the case, to work late in the evening. . Based on a 2008 study (5) by Pamela Thacher, an associate professor at St. Lawrence University, late evening or nighttime mental work causes impaired reasoning and memory for four days. Even if you have the ability to work intensely, especially at night, this does not mean that you will benefit from it, quite the contrary.

But above all you would suffer from a lack of sleep which will have a negative impact on your intellectual performance. According to Dan Taylor, director of a sleep and health research lab at the University of North Texas, this lack of sleep affects rapid eye movement (REM), which helps with good memory. So, give priority to a good night’s sleep. What you would have lost by not revising during this period of rest and saving sleep, you will regain it the next day by having your faculties of memorization and reasoning more efficient. In the end you will save time and efficiency.

Coming to your exam tired is the best way to risk ruining days of revision and work effort during the year: like going off topic or by not understanding or misunderstanding essential questions of the subject.

  1. Minimize distractions and stay focused.

Research shows that high school and college students prefer to study and revise while listening to music, texting friends, or watching TV. Certainly this gives them a certain well-being. But this well-being is deceptive. Indeed, the different stimuli provided by these small distractions have a negative effect on the ability to memorize.

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