Keep calm, it’s only revision – top tips from a super head on banishing exam stress, including skipping while you learn!

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As Easter holidays approach, students all over the county are focusing on revision. And you can forget about late-night swotting at your desk for hours – Liz Laybourn, Head of top independent school Burgess Hill Girls has some rather unusual advice including skipping or jogging to reboot your mental hard drive!

Here are her four top tips:

1. Balance learning with exercise

Build at least one of the NHS Active 10 activities into your daily schedule.  Think of activity as a strategy to reboot your mental hard drive. Get out in the fresh air, weather permitting.

2. Make revision active – literally

Integrating mind and body helps to cement content in the mind and keeps you healthy. Keep on the move – walking or jogging, skipping, jumping, whichever you prefer – while you’re learning. And consider working with a revision buddy: rehearsing answers, testing each other, playing ‘names in the hat’ with key pieces of content make revision (almost) fun.

3. Practise good sleep hygiene (yes, it’s a thing!)

Stop revising at least an hour before you intend to sleep. Banning screen time in the bedroom will aid relaxation and make it much more likely you will get a good night’s rest. And that’s essential. Tired, unrested minds aren’t receptive minds.

4. Cultivate the right quality of mind

Don’t panic: easy to say, much harder to do. You will feel the benefits of a healthy, calm outlook to your forthcoming exams on an academic level and also practically. It will help you to manage stressful situations such as exams and also increase your capacity and receptivity to handling a challenging question. Assessment criteria for top grades include originality, handling complexity, and applying knowledge in unfamiliar contexts. To do this you need a calm, open mind that is receptive and capable of sustained application to a problem. A mind that is overburdened with information learned by rote rather than information assimilated and mastered, will struggle. This is why some kind of mindfulness practice  – as little as five minutes a day will make a difference – is hugely beneficial. Headspace and Digipill are useful apps.

Mrs Laybourn says: ‘The right mental preparation is essential for successful revision. It will help to reduce anxiety and make revising far more effective. And don’t overdo it. Don’t spend the whole Easter holidays revising. Take some time off and give yourself the occasional reward for all that hard work – an Easter egg may fit the bill!’