We all know we need to study hard for exams, but did you know you need to prepare physically as well? Your body cops a lot of punishment around exam time, so it’s more important than ever to treat it with a bit of TLC.
How to physically prepare for your exam season:
Here are our top tips for getting your body exam-ready:
Sleep at night when revising for exams:
Regular sleeping patterns are essential for helping you feel your best and studying at your peak. Don’t pull all-nighters, especially the night before the exam – you’ll have trouble concentrating and won’t recall information easily.
Exercise your hand!
It will be getting quite the workout during a three-hour exam. All the mental preparation in the world won’t help if your hand cramps and you can’t write. Try this – get a pencil and tape a battery to the top of it, then practice writing for increasing periods of time leading up to your exam. Your hand (and your results) will thank you for it.
Exercise your body:
Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, improves your mood and helps you to think more clearly. While going to the gym, taking a jog, or having a swim are all great options – the form you choose doesn’t have to be strenuous. Escaping for a half hour daily walk in the lead-up to exam time will do wonders for your concentration and stress levels.
Eat well while you’re studying:
Nutrition is also an important factor in keeping your body and mind alert. Eating healthily, particularly during your exam preparation period, will give your body the fuel it needs to ensure your brain is functioning at its peak and that you have the energy to cope with the increased workload. Avoid junk food and caffeine, particularly on the day of the exam, and make sure you eat a healthy breakfast with enough protein to keep your energy from flagging.
Monitor your stress levels:
Stress may be the body’s natural reaction to too much pressure, but it can also be debilitating, leading to lack of focus and sometimes outright panic – neither of which is conducive to success. If you find your stress levels spiralling out of control exercise can help, as can mediation, breathing exercises and yoga (see below).
Breathe and stretch between study sessions:
Learning some breathing or meditation exercises in the weeks leading up to your exams will help to focus your thoughts, relieve stress and calm your nervous system. While stretching helps those poor hunched-over-a-textbook-or-laptop-for-hours-on-end muscles to relax and reset – you don’t want to be distracted by a sore neck or shoulder during the exam. Breathing and stretching while you’re waiting to head in to the exam venue will also help calm those last-minute jitters.