Exam Practice Tips before Exam Day - dummies

By Patrick Sherratt

Part of Passing Exams For Dummies Cheat Sheet

One of the biggest challenges new students face is the fact they’ve not done a lot of exams to know how to perform well. It usually takes a few exams and a bit of trial and error before you can really get the grades you’re after.

Here are a few tips to help you get more practice in during the days leading up to your exams:

  • Ask your teachers, past students or go online to get a hold of exam papers from previous years. Often, variations of the same question from a previous exam will be used in a current exam because teachers are repeating the same curriculum year after year. With a little detective work, you can get a fair idea of what you’ll likely be asked on your exam and how long you have to answer each section.

  • Invite a friend or two over to undertake a practice exam with you. Set up a few desks and with a clock handy, time yourself to complete the exam as if it were real. When you are finished, mark each other’s answers and evaluate your performance. What sections were you happy with? What sections need more preparation? Use these practice exams to guide your next study efforts.

  • Practice taking the exam in your mind. The ideal mindset and emotional state you most need for a great exam performance can be mentally rehearsed. Using your imagination, create a mental movie of you walking into the exam room, feeling confident and assured of success.

    Confidence generally comes after you’ve taken action, so if you haven’t had many real-life experiences of these exams, practicing in your mind is a great way to build your confidence.

    Your brain doesn’t know the difference between physical practice and imagined practice. Much of your brain processes occur in the same way. So by mentally rehearsing a confident approach to your exams, your brain believes this is actual practice and will store the desired response in your memory in the same way. How cool is that?!