Survival kit for exam time

Survival kit for exam time

Experts offer tips to get you through that high-stress period, including which foods to eat

Exams are coming up, and you may be feeling the heat. During this time, you run the risk of forgetting to care for your body and your mind. But if you're not in peak mental and physical condition, how can you be at the top of your game?

To help you stay in tip-top shape, Young Post asked health and youth experts to offer advice on how to best prepare.

One of the most important factors is food. When you're busy studying, you could go for the quickest, rather than the healthiest, option. So, Monica Proctor, a nutritionist and certified health coach at Integrated Medical Institute and Central Nutrition, made a list of foods to avoid: "Jam, sugary cereals and baked food for breakfast or white rice for lunch will lead to sugar spikes, making the body feel sleepy."

Proctor recommends eggs, protein shakes, organic blueberries, and oatmeal topped with goji berries for breakfast. Brown rice, plenty of vegetables and a fist-sized serving of meat are other great foods to keep you going through the day. So, ditch that packet of instant noodles!

How can you make the best use of your remaining time? Cecilia Ng kam-kuen, Youthline counsellor at the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, emphasises the importance of time management. She suggests creating a revision timetable to make best use of your study time. She also offers this tip: "Lots of time is wasted waiting for trains, buses or people every day. This spare time can be used to revise."

Proctor adds: "Studying in one-hour blocks is most effective (50 minutes of study with a 10-minute break). At least once an hour, stand up, stretch, do some yoga or jumping jacks, or take a walk, and breathe deeply. Do something you love that can make you laugh and unwind."

Communicating, says Ng, can also be a great way to get rid of mental pressure. "Share any difficulties with parents, teachers or peers. This can help to release your stress and gain the support of others."

Finally, at the end of the day, it is vital to get a good night's sleep. "Allocate time for sleep - no matter how busy you are," says Ng. "You need to arrange sufficient time for sleep, as it helps to enhance your capability in studying."

Proctor agrees: "Adequate sleep is not optional, but a must. Aim for eight hours. Sleep lowers stress, improves your mood, and increases your ability to pay attention and remember information." She adds that proper sleep patterns also give your eyes - which are extremely important during exams - a rest.

Ng reminds students to keep their spirits up. "Think positively. In the face of exams, having a certain level of stress is understandable, but never be defeated by your negative thoughts. Boost yourself up by thinking in a positive way and appreciating all the effort you have put in so far."

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups' DSE hotline provides help to students at 27771112. It is open year round from Monday to Saturday, 2pm to 2am. For more information, visit 27771112.hkfyg.org.hk

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Survival kit for exam time

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