Exams season is upon us again but there’s no need to panic – there are lots of steps you can take to boost your scores before even lifting a book.

Stressing out and sitting up late poring over revision might be the student stereotype. However experts advise just the opposite and advocate a balanced diet – and lifestyle – if you want to achieve your potential.

Feeding the mind with the correct food can significantly improve brain performance, and breakfast – which many students skip – is vital for the brain’s cognitive function.

Nutritionists advise eating slow release foods and avoiding high sugar items, like some cereals, as your body burns these off at a faster pace resulting in a drop in blood sugar, causing tiredness and drowsiness.

To improve your memory you need to increase blood flow to the brain and the best way to do this is by taking Omega 3, found in almonds, mackerel, sardines and walnuts. You can also buy Omega 3 supplements from health stores.

Food which is good for your gut, such as probiotics which are found in yoghurt, will also help boost your brain performance as half the neurotransmitter functions in the brain are actually made in the stomach.

Fluid intake is also vital to function at optimum level. Almost every bodily function is dependent on water, and hydration is key for mental focus. While popular, caffeine and energy drinks are not recommended as they only give the body a short-term lift, swiftly followed by a slump in energy levels.

To work out how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis, multiply your body weight in kilograms by 0.033, which will give you the amount of litres you need to consume; ie if you are 10 stone (63.5kgs) you should have 1.9 litres a day.

If you don’t like water, try adding a slice of lime to flavour it or try coconut water.

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Other tips include regular exercise, as it promotes blood flow to your brain and helps improve focus and even a 20 minute daily walk will enhance mental clarity.

Finally – and most importantly – sleep. Six to eight hours sleep a night are the recommended amount for busy students and key to memory retention. Now is not the time to diet or stay up all night!

Top tips to get the best results:

* Create a revision timetable with sensible work slots and breaks and keep to it.

* Know where your exams are and when they start, how long they are and what equipment you are allowed to take in.

* Make sure you have one weekend day when you don’t revise or think about exams.

* Tell your family about your revision timetable – and ask them for help if you need it.

* Keep bullet points on crib cards highlighting main subject themes. Use these for quick revision and for when you have a few spare minutes, eg, waiting for the school bus.

* Use mnemonics – using initials of a word helps your memory.

* Some people revise well by listening, so you could try recording your revision onto your iPod or tapes. Listen to these lying in bed, travelling in a car or walking to the shops.

* Cut down on your weekend or evening job to give yourself more time to revise – you can usually make it up later.

* Prepare your equipment the night before the exam.

* On the morning of the exam, have a good breakfast, stay calm and allow plenty of time to get to school or college. And remember that you can only do your best! 

This article was downloaded from http://www.freefeatures.com.

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