It's that time of year when for many exams are rapidly approaching and people have started to panic. This article will go over a few tried and tested methods of beating stress and panic, with a few tips on how to revise thrown in too!

  1. Make sure you have a good revision plan. Start with the subjects you are weaker on, and as the exams draw closer go over your stronger subjects. Also, don't overly pack your time table with revision, sleep is really important to successful exams! Make sure you leave time to sleep, eat and socialise, as if you are thinking solely about exams you will get even more stressed and worried.

  2. Go over previous exam papers to see how they have been set out and the kind of questions asked in the past. Try to fill them out at home or in the library, but if you get stuck ask your teacher for help. Make sure you understand the response, rather than memorise it: it is highly unlikely this years exam will contain the exact same question!

  3. Eat a good breakfast on the day of the exam. Studies show that students eating junk for breakfast have the memory capacity of an average 70-year-old! Good breakfasts include beans or Marmite on toast, as they contain protein and vitamin B, both of which improve brain power.

  4. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air. As the brain can only absorb information for 20 minute bursts, take plenty of breaks in your revision and go for a walk or a jog to boost brain power. Alternatively, you could take your revision out into the garden, so that you are enjoying the fresh air whilst working. Seeing all your flowers will probably help relax you too!

  5. The night before the exam, take a long hot bath and stop thinking about it. You wont be able to properly absorb the information at that late a date anyway, so stop worrying about it and just relax. Light some candles and some incense, calm down, and maybe read a good book. Then get a good night sleep so you are fresh for the next morning!

  6. Whatever you do, do not drink alcohol the night before an exam. You might think that one small glass would be alright, but one glass can lead to another and next thing you know you have a killer hangover, your brain feels like its stuffed with cotton wool and all your hard work has gone down the drain!

  7. Put some of your facts to music. Simple tunes such as nursery rhymes with the facts repeated over and over again will help commit dates, names and verbs to memory, as well as being considerably more cheerful than just sitting going over them again and again! One thing you should never do, however, is listen to music whilst studying or revising, as the lyrics will distract you from what you are learning. Its hard to concentrate when you have to resist the urge to sing along to your favourite song!

  8. Pay attention to your eyes. Hours of reading and writing will cause your eyes to feel sore and strained, and can lead to headaches, adding to the pre-exam stress. After every 20 minutes of revision, spend a few minutes just blinking and maybe splash some cold water at your eyes to freshen them up. It may be a good idea to get some eye drops, to ensure that your eyes don't get overly strained, sore and uncomfortable.

  9. Make sure you are revising in a comfortable position. Nothing sucks more than standing up after a few hours at a desk and having to spend 10 minutes or so massaging life back into aching muscles and dead limbs. Try and sit with plenty of support for your back and neck. If you can, invest in a comfortable office chair, as these are designed to provide maximum comfort when you spend hours in an office. It is not a good idea to revise curled up in bed: you will not be getting enough support and you will end up feeling sleepy!

  10. Get plenty to drink. If you keep hydrated, you will have more energy, you will look better and you will feel better. What's more, your brain will be able to work better if it is well hydrated. For best results, stick to water, however if you strongly dislike water then fruit juice will do. If neither of those are agreeable to you, go for squash, but avoid fizzy and energy drinks at all costs. They will make you work slower after the initial buzz is over, and they are more expensive in the long run.

  11. Laugh! Share funny stories, browse the internet for jokes, read funny books. Laughter really is the best medicine, and a laugh a day will keep exam stress and nerves away. Its not a good idea to treat all of life as a joke, but if you see the funny side to things and are able to laugh and muck around, you will enjoy your time spent studying a lot more and wont see your life as an endless cycle of revision and exams.

  12. Spend time each morning making sure you look good. Just because you are studying, doesn't give you an excuse to look like Godzilla, and if you look good you will have a boost to your spirits that will help banish the jitters. Also, looking good on the day of an exam will give you extra confidence and you will feel better, and so you will be able to focus better on the exam ahead. So, dress as nice as you can, put on your favourite perfume or aftershave and maybe a little make-up! It wont do any harm, and will almost certainly do a lot of good.

Hope these few hints and tips help, and remember: do your best, and you will succeed! Everyone has the potential to reach their targets, all it takes is a little self confidence and hard work, and you will get what you hope for. Good luck!