Good evening everyone! We remember this week all too well. Whether it was sitting the Junior Cert or the Leaving Cert, no feeling has ever quite compared to that dull dread you experience the week before the exams begin. After two years of intense coursework and one year of intense studying (or one month in my case!) it all comes down to you and that exam paper in a silent hall. It's OK to be terrified at this point, it's also OK to not be terrified! If you have put in the work, which most of you will have, even by going to school, listening in class and doing your homework, it will all be fine! At this time your body and your mind is under a lot of stress, so it's important to prepare for the couple of weeks ahead. For everyone sitting exams over he next couple of weeks take 5 minutes out of your study to read our top tips to beat stress and attain your best in each exam.
DEEP BREATHS-If you have a constant feeling of anxiety, remember to breathe. Take five minutes and take ten deep breaths. We have all been there before, it's scary but you'll get through it-have faith in yourself! I'm a big fan of the App 'Headspace', it wasn't around (neither were smartphones) when I did my Leaving Cert, but it helped me all through studying for my Masters last year.
One thing that I absolutely SWORE by when I did any exams and even now during times of stress is Rescue Remedy. I use the pastilles which are super handy to have on your exam desk! Rescue Remedy is a natural product made from flower essences and are used to relieve stress, worry, and anxiety. They are amazing and I usually have a box in my room for a day I feel I need them. I also highly recommend Solgar L-Theanine & Balance Rhodiola, as well as B Complex to battle stress. GET ACTIVE-as important as it is to study, it's also just as important to take a break and get some fresh air. Staying cooped up in your room all day huddled over your desk for endless hours isn't good for you without some sort of break. By exercising it helps you relax and will release endorphins in the body making you feel happy. It will also help with concentration and brain function. Make sure to give yourself a time limit, and stick to it- whether it's 20 or 30 minutes, don't go over! KEEP FOCUSED- you are nearly there. You have worked hard all year and you are so close to the finish line so keep the head. Taking an Omega Supplement will help maintain concentration and keep your mind alert. EAT WELL- A healthy diet is so important. I know, you might just want something quick and to reach for sweets or toast and rush up to your room to study, but a healthy diet is essential for the function of the body. If you really don't have time pop a sweet potato in the microwave for five minutes, boil an egg, and have a tin of tuna or mackerel, a very quick and nutritious meal made in minutes providing you with good carbs, protein and your omega oils- winner winner! Have nuts in your bag to munch on during breaks or in between exams and make sure you have a good balanced lunch and PLENTY OF WATER with you on the days of your exams. SLEEP- I've been there, pulled the all- nighters convincing myself that it's better to use the hours to study instead of sleep- let me tell you this now- THIS DOES NOT WORK! Think how hard it is to complete simple tasks when you are tired; imagine sitting through a three hour exam with sleep deprivation? The brain needs a few key things to function properly; food, sleep and water. BE PREPARED- this goes without saying, and at this point you will have most of the work done. One thing that I always do before exams is write key points on notecards, such as quotes, facts, or maths theorems, and ten minutes before entering the exam I sit outside the room, cut myself off from everyone and go over the notes until I have to go in. Once I get the exam paper and you are allowed to start writing I go to the back page and jot down everything I know about the subject quickly in small points. This was my saviour in exams. Try not to talk to people before entering the exam hall, and in between exams, stay as focused as possible and find a quiet spot by yourself to go over notes. RELAX- this is the final countdown,at this point you have the work done and now you need to just relax, take your time and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Everyone else knows you can do it, you just have to believe in yourself at this point! Once you get the first exam over, the rest will fly by. For the next few weeks just get in the zone, and keep focused, you are nearly there and all your hard work WILL pay off! If you want to come in and chat to any of us about exams please call in, we are also offering 10% off our top exam essentials in store all this week. (Parents, if it is your first time with exam students in the house- it's not easy! But be sure to give them space, lots of encouragement, and don't be worried if they don't want to talk for the first few days - as long as they are eating well and getting sleep, they'll talk to you when they can. Keep the house as peaceful as possible with lots of positivity - they'll be back to themselves when the exams are over! ) It's amazing how much information your brain can retain, and how much you will remember in an exam situation. So from all of us here in Ballina & Dublin- BEST OF LUCK, keep calm and stay focused!Elisha x