Beat Exam StressEvery year that time comes around that we all dread: the exam period. We can't hide from it, but we still dread it. After months and weeks of trying our best to listen (or pretend to be listening) in class, the looming fact that we are going to have to pour all our knowledge onto a few pieces of paper to prove we have learned something is terrifying. But never fear, here are some simple and straight-forward tips that will not only help you get into the right frame of mind for studying for exams, but hopefully leave you feeling more prepared come exam time.
The first and most important thing when it comes to exam preparation is you. Let's face it, if you are not healthy and feeling your best, it is going to show in your results. Make sure you eat well, exercise and spend time with family and friends. There is no point locking yourself in your room and studying for eight hours straight if for four of those hours you were daydreaming about Robert Pattinson with his shirt off.
Make sure you get lots of sleep. You may think you have no time to sleep with all the study you have to do, but trust me, waking up fresh and alert after a good night's rest will help you soak up more knowledge while you are studying. You are also going to be a lot more positive, and be able to stay positive, if you get a decent amount of rest. While on the topic of sleep, steer clear of caffeinated food and drinks like coffee, Red Bull, V and chocolate. They may seem like a good idea, but when you are crashing from your sugar high you will regret it. Though these drinks promise to give you energy, all they really do is keep your eyes open, so you still feel exhausted. Sleep is the only cure!
Please attend the exam revision sessions your teachers hold for you. You may think you have already learnt everything there is to learn, but sometimes there may be things you have missed. The notes you get from these revision sessions are priceless, as usually teachers specifically go over things they have included in the exam without mentioning it to you. Also take advantage of the study time your teachers give you in class. If you use them wisely it means you will have more time to relax while at home. It is always good to take regular breaks while studying though. If you allocate yourself a certain amount of 'study time' and then a certain amount of 'break time' (say for every one hour of studying you do you get a ten minute break) you will find that you are more willing to get the work done, instead of clicking onto Facebook every few minutes.
On the day of the exam be positive. Make sure you have a good breakfast or lunch, filled with lots of carbs to keep you energy levels up! Dress comfortably as you don't want to be distracted by your skin-tight jeans cutting off your circulation mid-way through the exam. Double-check you have all the necessary materials like pens, paper, your student card, a calculator etc. Bring a bottle of water to keep your fluids up.
Walk into the hall 100% certain that you are going to ace the exam and do the best you can. Reread your notes before the exam just to refresh your memory, but don't cram as it never works. In the exam make sure you stay calm and read all the instructions carefully. Use the reading time given to go through the questions and pick out the ones you know and the ones you are going to have to concentrate on. When writing time starts answer all the questions you are confident with before spending time on the harder ones. If you are really stuck circle the keywords in the question and focus on them. Always answer the question and never leave anything blank! You can still get marks for getting the answer partly correct or having the formula right. If the exam has some multiple choice questions use a process of elimination to find the most suitable answer. Don't fret too much over the multiple choice questions as the short answer questions tend to be worth more marks and therefore more deserving of your time. But still try your best on both!
After you have answered all the questions go back and re-read your answers. Stay for the entire length of the exam and spend any left over time fine-tuning your answers and double checking your multiple choice answers. When the exam is done the most important thing is to relax and not over-think it. What is done is done and you cannot change it once the examiner says "pens down". All in all be proud you worked hard and completed the exam confidently, it is bound to show in your results!
By Simone Traglia