While 2020 has been an unprecedented year, exams are still something that we need to come through before we can all take a break in December.
So what can we do to make these maths exams (and just about any other exam) less stressful and achieve our best results?
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. If you are sleep deprived, you cannot concentrate and you will make silly mistakes. There is no point in waking up extra early or staying up extra late to go through your notes if it is going to make you tired. Your brain needs sleep in order to solidify the connections that were made while you were studying.
Which brings me to my next point:
Give yourself plenty of time to study. In this way the information is stored into your long term memory (not your short term memory) and it will help you with next year’s work as well. Remember that in any subject, and particularly with maths, each year is a building block for the next year. If you miss out on this year’s work, or don’t understand it, it will make next year’s work harder to understand too.
Ask your teacher questions in class, after class and while you practice. If you dont understand something, make sure that you get someone to explain it to you properly. Maths @ Sharp has a YouTube channel that has lots of helpful maths videos that you can watch. You can also visit www.mathsatsharp.co.za to download free worksheets and study guides. There are many other platofrms where you can find help for other subjects.
Make sure that you take care of yourself too. Eating unhealthy snacks and drinking sodas will make you feel tired and sluggish. Drink lots of water (its very good for your brain), and eat things like fish which have omegas 3 and 6 that are also fantastic for your brain. If drinking caffiene (like coffee and cola) makes you unable to fall asleep at night then stay away from it after a certain time, like 4 in the afternoon. Research has shown that just sniffing the coffee or coffee beans can give you the same boost as actually drinking the coffee.
Make sure that everything you need is packed the day or evening before the exam. There is nothing worse that running around the morning of the exam looking for your pen, your ID, your timetable and so on (trust me – I’ve already done it). For your maths exam, make sure that you have a good calculator (like our EL-W535SA or EL-W506T which you can purchase from Takealot). Make sure that you know how to use your calculator and that it is allowed into the exam room.
Stay calm! Seriously, your brain and body will thank you for it. Your brain does not function as well under stress as it does under normal conditions. You need to be kind to yourself. Remember that we are all under different pressures and that we all handle things differently.
Most people recommend spending 50 minutes studying and then taking a 10 minute break. Go outside, make yourself a cup of tea, find something to snack on. Reply to a message or two, watch a funny Youtube video (but remember its a 10 minute break so dont get too distracted). Give your dog a rub, doing a row of crochet or take a quick walk. Anything that takes your mind off what you have been doing, and gives your eyes a break.
Yes, exams are tough, but so are you! Take it one day at a time, put the work in (consistently), listen in class (I promise this helps) and do your best. Remember that we are not all rocket scientistics – some of us are artists, designers, word-smiths and so on. If we were all rocket scientists we wouldn’t have any food…