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Revision and exams - a survival guide!

Half-term may be a matter of days away, but students up and down the country are well into exam season. From end-of-year tests to GCSEs, A-Levels to Finals, revising and exams can be stressful at the best of times, but even more so when there’s the small matter of a daily struggle with a life-limiting condition. Fear not, hope is at hand!

20-year-old Beth Sparks is studying Journalism at the University of Worcester and has shared her top tips for surviving revision and taking those exams in your stride.

Beth Sparks

  • Plan ahead and start revising early
    Planning your revision in advance means you can make sure you have enough time to cover each and every topic. You can also schedule when to study which topics, depending on the next exam.
  • Exercise before you revise
    Exercise will stimulate the brain and make it easier to revise afterwards. People with cystic fibrosis have to do physio every day to get their lungs clear, which can be a chore, so the great thing about exercising before an exam is that it’s a physio session done and out of the way! 
  • Don’t cram information 
    Don’t attempt to remember everything in one go. Make sure you take regular breaks, not only to give yourself a rest but also to give the information some time to sink in. For those of us with a daily care regime, taking frequent breaks also gives you the chance to fit in treatments and medication. 
  • Don’t pull any all-nighters 
    Sleep is important, especially during times of stress. Staying awake all night to revise will only make you ill and won’t produce the best results! Get a good night’s sleep and return to revision again in the morning – your brain will function much better! 
  • Stock up on snacks 
    No one can get through revision without edible rewards, so make sure you have enough to keep you going! Stocking up before you start means fewer trips to the fridge and less distractions.
  • Think positively 
    Easier said than done, but try not to worry! A positive mental attitude will help you with confidence and productivity. Excessive worrying and stress will only make you ill, so hang in there – you can do it!
  • Take water into the exam room 
    Stay hydrated to prevent headaches. That’s the last thing you want when your brain is working so hard! (For those of us with cystic fibrosis, it’s also very helpful to settle any oncoming coughs you don’t want in that exam room!)
  • Don’t neglect your health
    This applies to everyone, but especially those with a demanding health condition like cystic fibrosis. Time can seem limited when you’re revising for a handful of exams, but always make sure you have time to fit in your treatments. A lung infection is the last thing you want during the exam period, so make sure you’re not skipping the essential medication that will keep you well!