When I first started Year 12 last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I saw how stressed the seniors were in the year before me and I had also heard stories about students having panic attacks during exams. Having gone through the whole process now, I have to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be despite all the negativity and stress surrounding the whole topic, but I couldn’t have made it through without learning a few things along the way.
These are my top ten tips for your final year of high school that got me through the year:
- Mentally prepare yourself. This might seem a little obvious but how you feel at the beginning of the year will affect the way you perceive the rest of the upcoming year. Looking back, the idea that my entrance into university depended on these exams over the next year was extremely daunting, but I knew that if I was mentally prepared and expecting the challenges that would inevitably come, then I would be okay.
- Maintain a positive mindset. For me, this was the main thing that kept me afloat during the year. I personally believe that maintaining a positive mindset will enable you to overcome any obstacle you might run into in the duration of the year.
- Exercise. There have been many scientific studies that prove that exercise increases brain activity and memory function. I personally loved how exercise provided me with a break from my studies as well as being good for my health and general wellbeing.
- Keep your hobbies and passions. Keeping your hobbies e.g. sport or a creative outlet during this time ensures that the year isn’t just about exams and studying. It also prevents you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Believe in yourself. Surprisingly, this is sometimes the hardest thing to do. It can be especially hard before exams, after a difficult exam and after results come out. It’s during these times that believing in your own abilities is of the highest priority because the way you feel about yourself can greatly affect your overall performance.
- Consider mindfulness and meditation. If you find it difficult to calm your mind during this stressful time of your life, consider meditating every day. It can be done at any time of the day that suits you, although I personally prefer in the morning after I wake up or at night before I go to bed. Meditating can allow you to have a clearer outlook on life and enable you to gain a better understanding of how to manage your stress. I recommend the app Insight Timer, they have courses that guide you through the basics of meditation and I found that it really helped when I was doing my final exams.
- Keep a daily journal. Logging your thoughts and feelings every day can help you keep track of your mental wellbeing during the year and can be fun to read after the year is over.
- Maintain a good sleep schedule and make sure you get enough sleep! This is especially important for your concentration abilities in class so that you get the most out of your learning and therefore reduce stress when exam dates get closer.
- Eat a big breakfast every day. Starting the day with enough energy is crucial to maintaining productivity during the day and ensures that you perform at your best.
- Finally, don’t listen to what everyone tells you, take everything in with a grain of salt. This might seem a little contradictory to everything I’ve said in this post, but remember that everything in life is based on personal experience. You will never have the same experience as anyone else who is also in their final year of high school, so take from this post what you will, as long as it helps you.