Healthy Body = Healthy Mind

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There are other ways you can improve your exam performance, besides spending all day with the books. People tend to be successful, in exams as well as in other areas of life, when they are healthy, happy and full of energy. The old saying “healthy body equals healthy mind” is definitely true when it comes to preparing for exams. If you make the effort and look after yourself properly, you’ll find it much easier to cope with studying and sitting exams.

While scientists haven’t yet invented actual brain food or pills that make you remember Newton’s Third Law or the main exports of Norway, the food you eat does have a certain impact on the quality of your study and your ability to retain information. It is very hard to concentrate when you are hungry. Eating a nice variety of healthy foods insures that you will have enough energy and vitality to concentrate on your studies, while actually benefiting your brain cells. The foods which are good for your body are also good for your mind, so a balanced diet with lots of fruit juice and natural foods is a far cleverer choice than crisps and fizzy orange.

Some people can get a bit zombified around exam time and only emerge from their bedrooms or study areas on rare occasions, and even then, it’s just to stick on the kettle. This is not a good idea. A bit of the great outdoors can keep your mind fresh and the batteries charged. If you play sport or exercise regularly, don’t give it up completely – a good workout can leave you feeling revitalised and ready to hit the books again with renewed vigour. Even if you are not a great exerciser at the best of times it is still a good idea to take regular walks around the garden just to clear your head and give the brain a rest.

Sleep Well
The human body needs a regular amount of sleep every day, especially during times when it is being put under unusual pressure. Most students should be getting seven to eight hours a night, even during exam weeks. Conning your body with coffee and red bull is a very short-term solution, and it only stores up trouble for later. Staying up all night, any night, is a bad idea. You might get to look at lots of material over and over again, but you won’t remember much of it, even a few hours later. By getting a good night’s sleep you will have a clear mind and energy to be at your best the next day. You remember things much more clearly when your brain has had a proper rest. It can be hard to switch off your mind around exam time so that you can actually get to sleep, but a regular routine, such as watching telly or talking to someone for a while, instead of going straight from the books to bed, can help you nod off. If you are having real trouble sleeping on a regular basis, you should talk to someone like your local doctor.

A certain amount of stress is natural given the pressures and hassles around the Leaving Cert and points race. Even the best of us get a bit stressed at times, and while little bit of stress can even help motivate some students, staying calm and confident is vital for exam success. You should always remember that exams are only one part of life, and while they might seem very important now, there are lots of ways to skin a cat, and your entire future doesn’t depend on how many CAO points you get.

Keep it Real
Maintaining some kind of balance in your life is key to exam success. Obviously you have to work hard and take the Leaving Cert very seriously, but if you let it take over completely then you’re in trouble. Taking regular breaks, and switching off completely from studying every now and then are healthy options. Even the most hardworking students with the most detailed study timetables should include some time to relax and let their hair down. The odd evening at the cinema or an afternoon shopping trip in the build-up to the exams can do no harm. Having a laugh with friends and seeing the funny side of things can help people keep a sense of perspective.

Looking after yourself in the lead-up to your exams, and setting a bit of time aside to keep in touch with the “real world” outside of the Leaving Cert, makes sense. Your granny wasn’t wrong – a healthy body does equal a healthy mind. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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