Almost everything you read regarding how Oxbridge students revise includes exercise. For those suffering from anxiety, yoga seems to be the way forward. But if that’s not your thing then there are plenty of other ways you can get blood pumping to your brain and your lungs full of air. Even just taking a walk has proven to improve your productivity and concentration.
Laughter can increase creativity and memory, as well as increasing your positivity and confidence. Take half an hour off to watch funny videos on youtube, meet up with some friends, reminisce with your family about funny times when you were little. Anything that tickles you, do it more when you are revising!
Book things to look forward to after your exams too. This could be a holiday, a day out with a friend, visiting extended family... anything that puts an element of positivity and excitement into the future, rather than just the dread of looming exams.
Do not talk to other people about their revision, unless you are revising together and helping each other. Other people’s stress and panic can sometimes be contagious!
Be confident, even if you're not.
We have written about revision plans in other blogs. It transpires that you can never ‘grow-out’ of needing a revision plan and you can never be too clever to need one. This is the most important part of your revision, no matter who you are and no matter what you are revising for.
Sam Martin has written this brilliant article about his daily routine of working smarter not harder.
At Downing College Cambridge they run a revision techniques seminar on ‘the procedures of setting up a revision plan of your own that is both realistic and achievable, including some hints and tips to help you adhere to your programme.’
At Oxford they advise students to ‘allocate more time to subjects you are unsure about or did a long time ago. More recent work will be fresher in your mind and will probably not need as much time spending on it. Your plan needs to be flexible to allow for some things taking longer than you expect. Be realistic about how much time you can work each day and how much you can get through in the time. Revise subjects that make you feel anxious fairly early on so that you reduce the anxiety and feel you have the time to deal with them.’
Again, it is so important to look after yourself. Get into a good sleep routine and make sure you stick to this the night before an exam.
Some people can experience insomnia over revision and exam periods due to anxiety and stress. If this is you, scrap all caffeine from your diet, it’ll do more harm than good. Do not nap in the day. If you’re worried about something, write it down and tell yourself you will tackle it when you wake up. Do not work in your bedroom, and try to make it a relaxing space.
Off you go then :)