Tips for Surviving Exams

September 18, 2018

Exams are something that you have to do multiple times over the course of your academic career. They can often be very stressful as you are forced to demonstrate your knowledge in a restricted setting and there is pressure to do well in them. Here are some tips to do better in exams and to mitigate the stress that they bring 🙂

Don’t do Last Minute Study:

I always see people the morning of a test trying to cram some last minute study or “revision” in before their test. This is a bad idea! Firstly, it usually makes you feel stressed as you are trying to remember/learn something minutes before the test and nothing is going into your head. Secondly, because of the short, stressful time that you have, you aren’t actually going to learn anything new and could even forget other things you already know because you are focusing all your attention on learning the new concept and stressing out about not knowing things. It is much better to do all of your studying up until the night before where you calmly read over your notes before sleeping so it goes into your head better for the next day.

Sleep is More Important than Studying:

If you are given the choice between continuing to study past 10pm or going to sleep, pick the latter! Even if you need to learn a new concept for the test the night before, there is no point learning it then as, due to lack of sleep, you might not be able to remember the concept and even everything else that you already know during the test due to tiredness. If you do need to learn something new you can always learn it in the morning when you are refreshed and won’t be stressed about being tired or not having enough time before the test. I know I said before that last minute study isn’t good, but if you are desperate then just make sure it is way before the exam on the day and doesn’t interfere with you getting ready and there on time. Overall, make sure you get an appropriate amount of sleep before a test as it will allow you to function better and it’s better for your wellbeing as well.

Eat a Suitable Breakfast (or Any Meals Before):

It doesn’t matter if you are too nervous to eat, you still need to have a suitable breakfast (or any meals before) to be able to function in a test. If you don’t eat anything or you only eat a small, unhealthy snack then it can affect your energy level poorly which isn’t good before a test. Sure, a big meal or certain food and drinks might make you feel sick and uncomfortable before a test but you just need a light meal of nice food and drink to give you the energy you need to function in a test.

Do What You Need to Do:

With this tip I just mean that you shouldn’t do anything that gives you added stress. Whether this be not socialising to anyone before the exam and staying in your own world, or getting to the exam half an hour or more earlier just to put yourself at ease, we all can do things that get rid of any unnecessary stress that we may feel. For me personally, I need to make sure I have all of the necessary items in my bag and be ready well and truly before I need to leave just to give me time in case I’ve forgotten something that I remember a bit later and to ensure that I’m not going to be late at all.

And just generally, in an exam try to take the time to breath slowly and focus on what you’ve got to do rather than how you feel and know that large amounts of stress won’t help you do well so try to stop yourself from spiralling (by this I mean the whole: “I’m stressed about doing badly, now I’m doing badly because I’m stressed about doing badly, now I’m more stressed because I’m doing badly because I’m stressed about doing badly…”).

Also, remember that if you do badly in an exam, it is not the end of the world! That percentage or score doesn’t define you and even if that test is what you consider to be the most important thing in the world, there are always other ways of doing what you want to do in life. Sure it won’t be your first preference but you can get there. Your mental and physical health are more important 🙂

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