Take a break and strike a pose – what thoughts come to mind when you read this phrase? Perhaps, if you are a child of the late 80s or 90s, you imagine Kit Kats and Maddona. However, if you are a 2012 HSC student, this may be the sweet tip you have been waiting for.
The first exam study tip is remember to take a break. A recent study by Dewar et. el. has shown taking a ten minute break can help you remember. According to these researchers, a brief rest allows the brain time to process what it has learnt making information easier to recall. Of course the key is to actually take a break – not to focus on something else. This is not the time to update your facebook status, rather this is an opportunity to take a moment, breath gently, relax easily and be in the moment. So, when you are studying, a useful strategy is to revise for 50 min then take a 10 minute break to consolidate what you have learnt – you may like to try a focused breathing or meditation exercise.
The second tip is an ‘on the day’ exam strategy using the ideas shared by Amy Cuddy on a recent TED video. Cuddy explains how body language not only affects how others see us, but also how we perceive ourself. She refers to studies that demonstrate why ‘striking a power pose’ for 2 minutes (e.g. standing tall with your arms outstretched in a V position) can increase your confidence and decrease your stress. However, Cuddy cautions this is an ‘alone’ activity conducted to improve your emotions – it is not a power play to fool others, nor is it a group ‘psyc up’ session. She suggests going somewhere quiet and holding a power body position for 2 minutes. If you have the time, you may like to watch the video – you can skip the first 10 minutes if you want to get straight to the parts which discuss how physiology can affect psychology. Perhaps this strategy can help you settle pre-exam nerves – you could even practice the strategy by using it before a study session.
Remember, if you are in the grip of examination revision, keep the days and the study in perspective. Your exams are an opportunity to show what you know. You will have many opportunities to demonstrate you have learnt, the HSC is simply one of them.
Welcome to a world of Expression.