Exam preparation can be stressful, to say the least. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, and way too much to think about. Here are 10 top tips to make exam preparation just a little less stressful.
Tip #1 —Think about your exam preparation in advance
This is the first exam preparation tip for good reason! Get started as early as possible to avoid mistakes and last-minute disasters.
Leaving anything to the last minute is a bad idea, especially when exam stress can make errors even more likely. Studying in advance is especially important. Trying to learn everything the night before is nowhere near as effective as spreading the study over a few weeks.
TIP #2 — Know the dates and times of your exams
Obvious, perhaps. But in the middle of a busy exam session, it’s easy to mess up the basic information. Turning up for an exam at the wrong time is not fun (speaking from experience). Triple check the dates and times of your exam. Write it down somewhere obvious and check it regularly. It’s amazing how the brain can trick you into thinking your exam is half an hour later!
TiP #3 — Check out the route to your exam
Whether you’ll be driving, getting public transport or walking, it’s best to test the route in advance. You don’t want to get lost or hit unexpected traffic right before a big exam! Sometimes a journey can take a lot more time than you think, which can be risky.
It’s also useful to know the journey well enough that it doesn’t cause you any more stress. You’ll already have enough to deal with!
TIP #4 — Find out the exam regulations
Make sure you know all the little rules. What material can you take in? Can you only write in black ink? Do all belongings have to be left outside? What I.D. will you need? Are you allowed a bottle of water? Are you expected to dress in a particular way? Knowing all the little details will help to make the entire experience go much more smoothly.
TiP #5 — Get plenty of sleep
It can be tempting to spend the last few days before an exam skipping sleep in order to cram. Please don’t do this! The effect sleep has on your brain really is incredible. Your performance and memory will be hugely reduced if you don’t get enough sleep.
TiP #6 —Eat properly
Similarly, don’t stop eating or only eat junk food. Healthy meals will set you up for much more effective studying. Try to get a good breakfast right before your exam – something like oatmeal that will keep you comfortably full for the whole exam. I know that you might not feel like eating, but getting distracted by hunger halfway through really won’t help you!
TiP #7 — Practice similar questions
Get so used to the question format that you barely need to look at the paper. If you have an essay-based paper, make sure you can plan a great essay in moments. If it’s multiple choice, you should have a good idea of how many options there will be and what sort of questions will be asked. Practice questions (and full practice exams) are a fantastic way to prepare for exams.
TiP #8 — Pay attention to timings
Writing an incredible answer is no use if it’s the only one you have time to answer out of four! Make sure you know how long to spend on every question, and stick to it rigidly. If possible, find out the timings well in advance of the exam and practice answering questions in the same length of time.
TiP #9 — Make use of breaks
If your exam contains break periods, take good use of them to rehydrate and perhaps eat a sugary snack. Make sure you have all of your break supplies prepared in advance so you don’t have to waste time trying to find a bottle of water.
TiP #10 — Don’t stress!
It’s easier said than done, I know. But try not to panic too much! A clear head is the best thing you can have for an exam. Being well prepared can help limit stress, but remember to keep calm during the exam itself. Breathe steadily, and perhaps even take a two-minute meditation break if you need to. Meditation is also a great tool for study breaks in the run-up to exams.
What would you suggest as a top exam preparation tip? Let us know in the comments below!
Meet The Guest Blogger, ISOBEL ROBERTSON:
“As if two history degrees weren’t enough, I am currently starting a PhD in medieval history. I love learning, and want to share all the tips and tricks I’ve picked up after years in college. Visit my blog at perspeculor.com for advice on studying, time management, fashion, cooking, and anything else that I think fellow students might find useful.”