The general psychologist advice on how to prepare for exams

Does your AQA A Level biology specification exam make you tremble? Then read this article to learn how not to be afraid of the AQA Biology A level exam. 

Imagine – you may have already done a great preparation for your biology exam. You studied the subject from A to Z, you can answer almost any question and solve every problem, you went through all the AQA A level Biology past papers, successfully mastering each and every one of them. So, you think you have done everything you could prior to the exam, right? 


No. There is another extremely important factor that is worth mentioning – it’s the stress. The stress, if not properly managed, can make you forget all your knowledge when you will need it the most. Any exam, whether it is a graduation or entrance exam, is an incredibly stressful event for the one who takes it. This goes double for the A Level biology qualifications, like AQA A Level Biology, since this exam is of extreme importance that will often decide the future course of life of the student – whether he will be admitted where he desires, or not. 

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This article will therefore mention the psychologist’s perspective on preparation for the exams, and will help the enrollee in managing the stress. 

There are many memorization methods – associations, figures, plans. But which one is the most effective? 

To be fair, all of the memorization methods mentioned above are pretty good, and they do really work. As a rule of a thumb, a person, in the process of learning, using different memorization methods, finds “his own”, that method that will be most effective for him. 


Besides, a significant role in the preference of certain methods of memorization is played by the leading modality of a person and the dominant hemisphere of the brain. Therefore, it is impossible to say unequivocally which method is the most effective.

Is there a difference between when enrollees repeat knowledge to themselves and aloud?

Repeating material “to yourself” is ineffective. It may at first seem that you remember, you know, but you start to answer in a real-life situation – and the answer turns out to be crumpled and fragmentary. It is better to make a plan, an answer scheme, and always on paper, and not in your mind.


Before the oral exam, you can check your readiness by telling the answer aloud in front of a mirror. Then a special kind of memory is turned on – speech-motor memory, and this material is easily remembered during the exam.

How to develop your emotional resilience?

To train emotional stability, the exercise “Half an hour that belongs only to me” will be very useful and effective. The essence of this exercise is to give yourself at least half an hour after class, in order to switch off and rest before the next stage of work.

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You can spend this half an hour as you find appropriate: walk along the city streets, read poetry or prose, listen to music, play with your favorite animal, go to the window and look at the sky, trees, people walking along the street, try to imagine what they are thinking about, relax and sit with your eyes closed or, conversely, fill the pause with active movements: dance to rhythmic music. The main thing is that you spend these half an hour exclusively at your own request and that they bring you satisfaction and joy.


The main method of self-regulation is self-hypnosis. It should be positive, life-affirming, constructive (you can’t inspire yourself with the negative); should be denounced in simple, clear and typical phrases in the affirmative form without the particle ‘not’ (I want, I can, etc.) and involves repeated repetition.


But it must be remembered that the psychological methods of self-regulation are quite individual, therefore, it is advisable for enrollees and applicants to find their own ways of self-regulation when preparing and during the exam. If it is difficult to do it on your own, you can seek help from specialist psychologists and with their help master various techniques of self-help and self-regulation.

There is a common belief that you should not study for a long time the day before the exam. Is it actually true? 

In fact, yes. The day before exams is better to devote to maintaining good physical condition and psychological well-being. It is necessary to stop all preparation (it is reasonable to do this even earlier, two or three days in advance, but not everyone can do it, since the fear of the upcoming test usually overpowers the student) in order to avoid the effect of bedlam in your head. 

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It is necessary to choose a sparing routine on this day: get plenty of rest, prefer active rest to calm, avoid strong physical and mental stress. It is best to spend this day in good company and leisurely walks. Getting enough sleep the night before an exam is very important.


Therefore, do not be nervous, – it is better to go to bed early and wake up with a fresh head and good thoughts. All the necessary preparations for the exam day should be done not on the morning of the exam day, but the day before: prepare clothes, charge your mobile phone, fold the necessary documents, writing materials (including spare ones) – this will help you not to worry about the little things.

How not to worry on the day of the exam?

It is almost impossible to cope with the anxiety on the day of the exam, especially if this exam is the first in life or decides the future fate of the person taking it. However, you can reduce your stress levels a little and ensure your success.


You should not take sedatives on this day, as they can cause drowsiness or defocus attention. Instead, it’s better to have breakfast. Breakfast should be quite dense, but not plentiful (heavy food makes you want to sleep).

It is believed that chocolate helps to remember. Is this true?

Yes. Chocolate activates thought processes. For breakfast, it is useful to eat a few pieces of chocolate. In order to cope with physical stress, you need to do exercises or physical warm-up before breakfast. It is also useful to take a contrast shower, completing it with a dousing of cold water.


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