Well folks, it’s that time of the year again. Students from primary, high school and even university are in the thick of their year-end examinations. Whilst preparations should have been made weeks in advance to avoid cram studying and meltdowns, we all know how the procrastination bug can hit. Before long, those 5-minute power breaks can turn into 5 hours of endless browsing and posting on social media, watching series, or even googling useless facts that have no significance in your daily life. Below I’ll highlight the dos and don’ts of exam prep that will help you get through this very stressful time in your life.

Do take regular breaks
Taking short, 5-minute breaks between every hour of constant study will help you relax your mind and retain the information you just learned. This is far better than studying for 5 hours without any breathers, which may lead to your feeling burnt-out or a migraine that could hinder all studying for the rest of the day. During these breaks, have a glass of water, listen to your favourite song or play one game of Candy Crush (or any game you enjoy). It is better to avoid going on Facebook or Twitter as you may be drawn to peruse the internet for much longer than the stipulated 5-minute break you gave yourself.

Do not study whilst lying/sitting on your bed
Most people associate their beds with sleeping, relaxing, watching movies or any other forms of comfort and down-time, therefore studying on your bed is a bad idea. Trust me, I’ve tried this before, but after the blankets swallowed up my pen for the tenth time and after resting my head on the pillow for ‘5 minutes’, my focus was gone and the evening was wasted. Try and study at a desk or any area of the house that is away from your bedroom.

Do snack during regular intervals
Whilst it is very important to always eat healthy and get all those vitamins and minerals from your fruit and vegetables, and good fats from lean meats, having a chocolate now and again isn’t a bad idea either. When studying challenging subjects like mathematics, reward yourself after every module successfully covered by having a sweet (only one!) or a tiny block of chocolate. If you love food as much as I do, you’ll be focussed and concentrating as much as humanly possible to get to that Fizzer or Kit Kat. This is a great way to motivate yourself to cover all of the content the subject covers. I am NOT saying that you should pig-out on fast foods, but simply reward yourself with LITTLE treats from time to time.

Do not simply read your content
Whilst studying, it’s important to have a scrap book and pen with you to make notes as you go along. Writing my notes in different colours and numbering each sentence helps me to absorb large amounts of information during a short time. I also chant each section, as if I am doing an oral presentation or teaching the new facts I learnt to someone else.

Do study by yourself (Even if you belong to a study group)
Study groups and the ‘each one teach one’ principle works well in assisting students who may be struggling with certain subjects, or just to motivate each other to work hard in a supportive environment. However, you NEED to do your own exam-prep as well, after all, you’ll be writing those exams on your own without help from your buddies.

As the exams are near conclusion, remember that it’s never too late to turn things around. Burn that midnight oil and do whatever you can to achieve success or salvage your marks if you’ve been struggling the entire year. Good luck to all those concluding their exams, especially the matriculants of 2017.

This blog was written by FunDza’s intern feature writer, Kauthar Gool, read more of her blogs, short stories and Inspiring Tomorrow articles here.