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Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision 

When you have exams coming up, it can be hard to focus on anything else. The aim of this blog is to show you how to get the right balance between revision and relaxing, and why that’s important.

Meic has lots of blogs and tips over to help you make it through your exams – click here to see

There’s often lots of pressure from your teachers, parents/carers, and yourself to do well, and so you know that you need to revise. Revision is a great way to prepare for exams, but whilst some students may not know where to start with revision, other students may find it hard to stop. 

Striking a balance  

When you put pressure on yourself to do as much revision as you can, you may not be giving yourself enough breaks. When you do take some much-needed time out, you might feel guilty about it and start worrying about all the revision you have yet to do.  

However, it is really important to take some time to rest, relax and reflect when revising so that you don’t get burnt out. Burnout can lead to increased stress, worry and low mood, which can make it hard to cope during the exam season as well as making your revision less productive.  

Balancing the time that you work and the time you can chill out is key to getting through the exam period. This blog shares some important reminders for striking the right balance to keep your mind happy and healthy whilst revising.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - girl in middle of clock with symbols (like knife and fork, computer, cuppa, mobile phone) instead of numbers on the clock - for Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision blog

1. Quality over quantity  

There’s no point in spending hours revising without a break because your mind will have switched off after a while. Try to revise for shorter chunks of time and take more frequent breaks, instead. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular method of revision where you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Doing this can mean you revise for less time but do so more effectively because you’ve taken breaks.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - girl in middle of clock with symbols - girl in front of laptop with arms up celebrating

2. Celebrate progress 

It can be easy to focus on how much you’ve got left to do on your revision checklist, rather than celebrating how far you’ve come. It’s okay to get some of your practice questions wrong or have forgotten some details in a case study. Revision is all about making progress, no matter how small, rather than aiming for perfection.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - boy meditating in clouds with heart symbol in one hand and book in the other

3. R is for… Revision 

Revision may be your key focus during exam season, however, making notes and completing past papers 24/7 will leave you feeling drained. It is way more than locking yourself in your room and getting lost in your textbooks. Your body and mind won’t be able to function without the other important R’s – rest, relax, and reflect.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - two girls standing with cuppa in take out cup - for Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision blog

4. Schedule in fun 

Don’t stop yourself from doing the things that you love and hanging out with people who make you feel good because you think you need to revise. Of course, make time for revision, but plan it around the things that make you tick. Having things to look forward to in and around revision can be really motivating and help you to keep a good work-life balance during exam season.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - orange brain with legs and arms carrying a weight bar - for Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision blog

5. Listen to yourself  

We all have days where it feels utterly impossible to revise, and that’s okay. Listen to what your body and mind are telling you. Try doing something that you enjoy to help you to regain some energy for revision at a different time.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - girl skateboarding with black bird above head- for Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision blog

6. Drop the guilt 

If you’re going out for the day and won’t be able to get any revision done, don’t panic. Exams are important, but you shouldn’t live to revise. You deserve to enjoy your time doing other things. Feeling guilty about taking some time out from revision can be unhelpful. It won’t make you revise any better the next time you get around to it, but it will put you in a more negative headspace. It’s easier said than done but try not to feel guilty about taking breaks from revision, even if they are long ones.  

Vector illustration in doodle style - boy sat at desk, paper and pencil in front, holding cuppa, listening to music - for Tackling Guilt for Taking Breaks During Revision blog

7. Know all you can do is your best  

Remember that you’re not a failure for not revising all day every day. In fact, too much revision without breaks can be counterproductive. To do your best in exams, you need to make sure that you’re in a good headspace. That comes from taking breaks to energise your mind and body, rather than forcing yourself to revise all the time. Rest is best! 

Power Up

Check out the Power Up website for exam and assessment guidance, careers advice and wellbeing tips for learners in Wales. Careers Wales, E-sgol, Qualifications Wales, WJEC and Welsh Government have worked together to create lots of resources to help learners taking exams and assessments this year. 

Contact Meic

Exams and assessments can be tough on anyone, and sometimes you might need to talk things through with someone so that things don’t get on top of you. If you don’t know who to talk to, Meic is here for you every day between 8am and midnight. Our friendly advisers will listen and offer free information, advice and advocacy in confidence. Contact on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.