Top tips for exam prep…

Many young carers in doing their GCSE’s, A levels or studying at college are starting to think about and revise for exams as exam season is just around the corner. For young carers this can be a worrying and anxious time for many, as you juggle school work, revision and your caring role. We’ve written some top tips for exams as you begin to navigate the next few months. 

Use a timer to help organise your time and revision

Using a timer with an alarm is a great way to organise your revision time. You can use your phone, or a visual timer like a “time timer” that helps you see how much time you can left. Breaking your work up into easy chunks can make revising feel easier. So, start read a section for ten minutes, have a break, come back spend 20 minutes writing notes about what you read. Timing your work can be a great way to stay on task and not feeling too overwhelmed. 

Have your heard of the Pomodoro Technique? 

The Pomorodo Technique is a great way to manage your time, and breaking up tasks into manageable chunks. It can really help with revision. The five steps to the Pomodoro technique are: 

  1. Choose your task and total time to work on it.
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes (either with an egg timer or with an app).
  3. Work on the task for 25 minutes.
  4. Take a 5-minute break for energy renewal, start another Pomodoro (or task).
  5. take a 20-30 minute break after completing four Pomodoros.

Give it a go and let us know if it works for you! 

Take regular breaks

It is important to take regular breaks from revision. It is estimated that a 16 year old can focus between 30 and 40 minutes at a time. Taking a break away from your desk is important for your well-being and will help you to get more done, and remember more. You could walk the dog, sit outside with a cup of tea, play a game or reward yourself with your favourite biscuit. 

Make posters with key facts on them and place them in places you will see them 

Think about the best way you learn and plan your revision to suit your style, you don’t have to sit and read all day, and some people don’t learn best that way. You could make posters with key facts and information on them, and stick them up in places you see will see them in the house. You could put one in the bathroom so you can revise geography while brushing your teeth. Or in the kitchen if one of your caring responsibilities is supporting your family with cooking. There are lots of ways you can revise for exams and it doesn’t always have to involve sitting at a desk all day. You could also try recording your revision notes and listening to them while you are doing jobs around the house

Look after yourself

Preparing yourself for exams is stressful and difficult for most teenagers, and as young carers you have extra responsibilities to consider too. During this time it is more important to take care of yourself and make sure you’re looking after your well-being. Put some time aside in your week to do something you enjoy, it could be; going for a walk, reading, listening to music or watching Netflix. Anything that can take you away from work for a short time. Be kind to yourself over the next few months. 

Ask for help if you are struggling

Teacher are paid to help you and they want to see you do well, if you are finding a subject difficult or you need something explained again, ask them as soon as you start finding something hard. That way you’ll be able to stay on track with your work and your teacher will be able to monitor how you are doing. Similarly if you are struggling with overwhelm, stress or your mental health there are always people you can talk to. You should never feel that you are alone. You could try to speak to someone you trust at school or home and you can even speak to a member of the young carers team here at the carers centre. You can also try a young persons helpline, the Mix offers emotional support to young people over the phone, email, text or 1:1 messenger. You can call them on 0808 808 4994 or find other ways to contact them on their website:

Drink plenty of water and eat well

When you are revising and using your brain to work hard, alongside usual responsibilities of being a young carer, it is important to remember to drink plenty of water and eat well. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, so don’t forget that! Busy lives and running late can often mean many people skip breakfast. Having a bottle of water with you can also help to remind you to drink water throughout the day. 

Pack your bag the night before 

And finally, to avoid last minute panic before exams, its great to get into the habit of packing your bag the night before. Make sure you have your bus pass, any money you need for the day, stationary and lunch if you need it ready and waiting for you when you get up. In the morning you will then just need to focus on getting ready and any caring jobs you do before school.

And remember: doing your best is all anyone can ask for 

Exams are hard for most people and sometimes everyone has a bad day on the day of the exam. All you teachers, family and staff in the young carers team want is for you to do you best, no one will expect anymore. If you do have a bad day on exam day or don’t do as you’d hoped there are so many options when you leave school, whether that’s more study, apprenticeships, university or employment. Many people often change their mind about what they want to do from the time they were at school, and so many people opt for career changes. You will be fine. Take everything at your pace and you will map out your own path. Everyone’s on their own journey, and sometimes things take a bit longer than others. Its absolutely okay to take your time.

Good luck with the next few months! We’re behind you every step of the way.