You’ve worked hard all year, and now it’s time to show what you’ve learnt.
Exam prep can be stressful. That’s why we’ve put together these exam prep tips to follow – they’ll help you keep your cool and be the Exam Boss you were born to be.
The Day Before
Schedule a final revision session
- Go over your revision notes a few times to refresh your memory
- If you haven’t already highlighted your notes, then grab your favourite coloured fluoro and mark the most important information. It will help you focus, keep you motivated and help that information stick in your brain
- Do another practise exam if you have one prepared, if not read through any previous ones you’ve done
- Finish studying at a reasonable time. If you’re stressed out it can be tempting to keep studying and stay up late, but that’s really not going to do much other than make you tired and less able to focus in your exam.
Get everything ready for the following day
- Organise your pens and other equipment that you might need, (remember to take spares as well)
- Make sure you know exactly where you’re supposed to be, at what time, and plan how you’ll be getting to your exam (remember to leave a few extra minutes in case you get held up)
- Don’t spend all day cramming, remember to take breaks and stay hydrated
- Otherwise you’ll feel uptight and exhausted before you’ve even started your exam
- Have dinner (you could always try some brain food like oily fish), spend some time relaxing and get to bed nice and early for a good sleep
- Set your alarm, leaving yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. If you usually find it difficult to get out of bed, then set a second alarm too – exam day isn’t the day to be sleeping through your alarm
The Big Exam Day
Get yourself in a positive frame of mind and wake up your brain
Get moving – When you hop out of bed in the morning have an invigorating shower and play some of your favourite tunes, you’ll be feeling in a much happier place already. Or if you normally do some exercise first thing in the morning, great – do that too.
Eat something – Even if you’re feeling nervous and your stomach doesn’t feel much like eating, hunger is a distraction that you really don’t need when you’re sitting an exam. So it’s important to eat a good breakfast to keep you going. Anything is better than nothing, but something wholesome and nutritious that will fill you up for a long time is ideal.
Relax – It can be tempting to pick up your revision notes and get some final cramming in, we’d suggest that you don’t. A little light reading however, is perfect to get your brain ready for the work ahead, a bit like stretching your body before a work out. So maybe read the news, an article or a few chapters of a book and help your brain limber up.
Remember to take a bottle of water, the equipment you’ll need
In the exam
Take deep breaths – you’ll feel more relaxed and better able to focus your mind.
Listen to all the instructions from the examiner and remember to pay attention to how long you have to complete your exam.
Use any reading time to quickly look through the exam to see how many questions there are and give yourself an idea of how long you can spend answering each question.
One step at a time
Return to the start, be methodical. Read each question. Read it again. Then start answering. Try and keep your writing and any workings out neat so that it’s easy for the examiner to understand what you’ve written.
Once you’ve completed all your questions, if you have time, go back and read through your paper. If you’ve missed something out or made a mistake this gives you an opportunity to put it right.
If you’re running out of time, don’t panic, try to answer each remaining question to the best of your ability. You might have to keep answers shorter than you would like, but at least if you get something down & you get in the key information, the examiner will have something to give you a mark for.
Before you know it, the exam will be over
Congratulations! Now’s the time to relax, take a break, and prepare for any other exams.
- Don’t talk about the exam with your friends, it won’t do any good but might make you feel bad if you didn’t come up with the same answer they did (and they might have been wrong where you were correct)
- Make a couple of quick notes about what went well (and not so well) for next time – did you read through all the questions? Did it help to start with an ‘easy’ question? Or did you get stuck somewhere?
- Look after yourself for the next day or so – remember it’s just an exam and it won’t change the course of your life, so don’t let it get to you