Subtle Lifestyle Choices That Help Revision
The Easter break is just around the corner. That’s right, an extended period of time during the early spring months where lectures stop, new assignments cease and workshops lie dormant.
However, as students, you’ll have heard about the importance of utilizing this time for revision. You’ve been given all the revision advice in the world; new techniques, highlighters, flash cards, practice papers and much more. But sometimes it is your lifestyle choices that can lead to more productive revision and ultimately better exam results.
So you have finally made your revision posters, written up all your flashcards and created a sparkly revision schedule, it’s time to revise!
It doesn’t matter how organized you are or how much time you have until your exam, revision can always be a stressful period. So much so that it is easy to forget about the little things. One of the biggest mistakes to make during revision is to forget to hydrate.
An average human brain is made up of approximately 75% water, and the more the brain works the more it needs to be replenished. Ensuring that your brain is adequately hydrated is a must and studies have shown that drinking eight glass of water a day can improve your brain’s cognitive functioning.
As you continue to put more pressure on your brain, keeping it hydrated alone is not sufficient. When you have a lot of revision to do, it may seem tempting to skip meal times to get those extra hours in. Don’t do this.
It is likely that skipping a meal to fit more work in can cause more stress and emotional distress. Not only should you avoid skipping meals but you need to eat correctly. The brain requires nutrients to work at a high level.
In between revision sessions it may be appealing to reach for easy junk food, again this is something you should try and steer clear of. Examples of some brain foods are oily fish, eggs and fruit and vegetables. It may not sound exciting but these foods will certainly give your brain the helping hand it needs.
Though some students swear by it, cramming is widely regarded as a poor technique for revision. The advantage of starting revision early and avoiding the need for cramming is that you will be able to set a manageable timetable for revision.
A well-formulated timetable not only can reduce stress but provide time for much-needed breaks. Studying for hours and hours on end is not beneficial, and it is proven that students who allow time for rest and relaxation do better in their exams. Regular breaks from revision decreases the chance of fatigue and enables you to continue right up until your exams.
Regular breaks can come in the form of relaxing in the comforts of your own home or visiting friends. Sometimes the last thing you want to do after working all day is to do something active. However, regular exercise has been proven to expand one’s memory and helps the brain’s ability to concentrate. If you don’t feel like a run, at least getting outside and experiencing a change of scenery will assist your recovery after hours of revision.
No to Alcohol
One of the biggest challenges that you will meet during revision time is to avoid the temptation of alcohol. The multiple nights out a week during term time have to come to an end when exams are around the corner.
The disadvantages of using alcohol as a revision aid are countless; it can negatively affect your memory and recall; it will reduce your attention span thus making it harder to concentrate; you will not get a good night’s sleep and if you go on a massive bender to burn off steam you may lose the majority of the next day to a hangover.
A Good Night’s Sleep
If you have multiple exams after the Easter break, you will more than likely be revising for the most of the day. Ultimately this will take its toll on your body and even if you follow the aforementioned advice your brain will feel over worked.
The only way to truly recover from your day of revision is a good night’s sleep. Do not put so much pressure on yourself that you feel the need to work late into the night. Decide on a time to end your revision in the evening and stick to it.
A lack of sleep can cause mental fatigue and a decrease in cognitive functioning . There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning after a late night and seeing a stack of revision with your name on it.
You have had to sacrifice going out drinking and staying up late, but going to bed early does not necessarily mean doom and gloom for an enthusiastic student. Some studies have suggested that sexual intercourse prior to exam preparation increased the participants’ abilities to focus . An increased ability to focus is an advantage when it comes to revision. This may be a technique that works for you.
So when you find yourself in WHSmith buying your academic timetable, your pink highlighters and flash revision cards, remember : sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.
Luke Bennett is a Law Graduate from the University of the West of England. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
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