1. Don’t Panic. Sound advice from the authors of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Last minute flapping will do you no good at all, and the time to prevent it is now.
2. Plan Ahead. Think of the relative amounts of work that you need to do for each topic. Only you will know this: be honest. Don’t be tempted to spend more time than you need to on subjects you enjoy at the expense of those you don’t.
3. Stock Up. Lack of supplies is a feeble excuse. Have all the textbooks and notes you need, but also make sure you have the necessary pens, paper, folders and so on. Don’t forget marker pens, sticky notes and larger sheets of paper.
4. Hit the Ground Running. You are at your most mentally alert first thing in the morning. Start with the subjects you find most challenging and aim to get the bulk of the day’s hard work out of the way before lunch.
5. The Knowledge Nightcap. If you have planned carefully, evenings should be free. But many actors find that lines learnt last thing at night stay in the mind, and it may be useful to commit and few quotes or formulas to memory just before turning in. Don’t overdo this: aim to build up a stock of little snippets at a time.
6. Poster and Post-It Power. Use marker pens and A3 sheets to compile reminder lists of verb endings, date sequences, primes… whatever needs to be committed to memory, and stick them around your room. Use post-it notes to apply the most stubborn to cupboard and fridge doors. You can programme mobiles and MP3 players to flash up reminders in the same way.
7. Give Yourself A Break. At sensible intervals. Try 45 minutes’ work at a time, with 10 minutes off in between.
8. Reward Yourself. But make sure you earn it. Have your favourite biscuits of fruit for your breaks. Stock up on movies, music or programmes downloaded for the evenings.
9. Go Offline. Switch your mobile off. Texting and twittering about revision are no substitutes for revising. Use laptops and PCs strictly as required, and don’t drift off on to Instagram and Facebook.
10. Don’t Despair. All things will pass – and so will you, if you revise sensibly, don’t panic and don’t skimp.
Notes for Parents
Try to establish – in consultation with teachers, if possible – the scale of the task ahead, and realistic objectives for your children.
If necessary, and feasible, book courses and tutors. Talk to parents of classmates: you could pool resources to share a tutor.
Provide copious amounts of comfort food and sensible amounts of snacks. Try to keep distractions to a minimum.
Advise, encourage, be available but don’t loiter, lurk or threaten. Regular testing is a good way to keep in touch with progress.
Don’t bang on about how it was in your day. Keep mum, open the biscuits and put the kettle on.