Hot Tips for Exam Day - dummies

By Patrick Sherratt

Part of Passing Exams For Dummies Cheat Sheet

So you’ve mentally rehearsed your ideal performance and practiced for weeks. It’s now time to make it through the big event! Here are a few tips to help you make the most of exam day:

  • Get a good sleep. Try not to be up all night cramming for an exam the next day. If you don’t know your stuff by 10 pm the night before the exam, let it go. A good night’s sleep is essential for good brain functioning the following day.

  • Seek spiritual support. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, prayer creates a powerful focus of positive intent. Miracles can happen with a strong emotive prayer for a positive outcome.

  • Feed your body and mind. Your thoughts, emotions and body all work together, so get yourself into a positive mental/emotional mindset: Eat a light, nutritious meal; have a glass of water or energizing fizzy drink; then a little later, take a bathroom stop. Arrive five minutes early for your exam but as you stand outside the exam room, try not to talk about the exam to your friends.

    Hearing their nervous thoughts isn’t going to help you alleviate yours. Focus on something else like how you will celebrate after the exams or do some quick fast-paced exercises.

  • Get in ‘the zone’. Many top athletes talk about getting into their ‘performance zone’ — a mental space where all their senses are centered on the task at hand. When you enter the exam room, march in like you own the place. Fill yourself with confidence as you repeat your positive affirmations, “This is it — I can do it!” Breathe deeply, focus your thoughts on the job at hand, take a seat, and prepare for instructions.

  • Plan once you’re in the exam. Once you’re in the exam, take all of the instructions in and start planning your approach:

    • If your exam has any long-answer questions, tackle these first before the multi-choice or short-answer questions.

    • Read through the questions twice so you’re certain you understand what is being asked. Decide which questions you feel most prepared for. If you have planning space provided, quickly jot down any memorized exam content.

    • Look at your watch and jot down on the page margin what the time will be when you need to finish writing. You must stop and move on to the next question, even if you haven’t completely answered the question.

    • You can come back to incomplete questions later if you get through the short-answer questions. If you run out of time, simply write “Out Of Time” in the margin and bullet point any extra thoughts you won’t have time to write about. You may not get points for unfinished sentences, but you may get points for bullets because you showed you knew the content and could have written it more precisely if you had the time.

  • Celebrate! It’s really important that you reward yourself for your efforts. This releases pleasure chemicals like dopamine in your brain, which improves your motivation levels. But remember, “It’s not over until it’s over.” Don’t go out partying when you are half way through your exams. Delay your big pleasure rewards until you’ve finished your final exam. Then reward yourself for the effort you put in. You deserve it!