We’ve all been there. You’ve prepared long and hard for this day, only to blank out at the very last minute. That essay you didn’t get to finish because time ran out, the last page left blank… thriving in the exam hall is a skill you have to practice.
Here are some of our best tips to give your BEST exam hall performance!
1. Have a good night sleep
You might be tempted to pull an all-nighter but this is a huge NO from us. Trust us, in our history of coaching so many students, we’ve never seen one tell us this was a good idea in hindsight.
2. Don’t overdose on caffeine
In the days leading up to the exam, you might be drinking more coffee than normal. Watch your caffeine intake the day before and make sure you are able to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
3. Eat your breakfast
Yes, not having breakfast would give you 30 minutes extra to read over your History notes, but at this point, the 30 minutes wouldn’t help you very much while a good breakfast on the other hand will nourish your brain and help you think. Going into the exam hall on an empty stomach is one of the worst things you can do. Feed yourself a power brain-boosting breakfast – there are lots of healthy combinations with nuts, fruits, eggs and cheese. Sugar-free muesli or whole-grain cereal are also good options if you don’t usually eat so much in the mornings. But for sure, an empty stomach is a recipe for failure.
4. Don’t overdo it on the actual day
The night before, give your notes one final thorough read and read it again first thing in the morning. This is proven to be great at fact retention! After that, put everything away. You’ve read and prepared, on the last day there’s really nothing much else you can do.
5. Consider a short meditation or a stretching exercise
Channel some positive vibes and reassure yourself you’ve got this! Your mind is stronger than you think and you can do anything you set your mind to. Remember, it’s mind over matter!
6. Avoid over-discussion before the exam
Try and maintain as calm and relaxed as possible before the exam. This means you don’t join the crowd of students discussing what might come out, what they’ve studied, what they haven’t done, what they didn’t get to do… This will do NOTHING for you and will only cause you to be more anxious. Put on your earphones if you must, and stay in a quiet corner. Your state of mind is crucial in acing that exam!
7. Avoid discussing your answers after the exam
There’s also no point in discussing how you answered or asking your classmates how they did when it’s over. Nothing will change your results at this point! Hearing how you two answered differently will only cause you to worry and this isn’t great, especially if you have another exam the day after. You have done the best you can and it’s time to move on.
8. Don’t drink and write
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the last thing you want is having to go to the toilet repeatedly during an exam, especially if you are already the type that writes slowly! A sip of water every hour is enough to keep you hydrated, you can drink as much as you want when the exam is over!
9. Make full use of the 5 minutes reading time
You are usually granted 5 minutes before the paper starts to look at the questions. It might come naturally to you but don’t start answering them mentally. Look at the way the points are allocated, weigh the importance in your head and mentally think of the order in which you plan to answer the questions first.
10. Focus on what you do know
Skip the questions you have zero clue about and make sure you answer those that you can, to the best of your capabilities! When you have finished answering those that you are 100% sure about, move on to those you’re not so sure about and tackle the questions you’re absolutely clueless about last. Don’t try and get it out of the way and waste time when you can secure the points elsewhere!
How do you usually fare in exams? Do you have a tried-and-tested routine or studying method that works for you? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below or let us know how our tips worked for you!