Preparing for exams can be stressful for students, but there are ways to prepare that can help lessen the anxiety. The most important thing is to get organized and give yourself plenty of time to study. Make a study schedule and stick to it. Break down what you need to learn into manageable chunks and focus on one topic at a time. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy foods. Try to avoid cramming the night before the exam.
Work out how much you have to do and the time you have to do it in, then break it down into manageable chunks. Aim revise a few hours each day, and mix up your subjects so you do not get bored.
Find a revision style that suits you. Studying alone in a quiet room suits some people, but not everyone likes working in silence. Try playing music quietly in the background, or revising with a friend (but do not let them distract you!).Make sure you understand everything. If you come across something you do not understand, try to find a new source of information that will help you understand it.
Just memorising it will not help you in your exam, you need to be able to evaluate, solve and prove. Do not be afraid to ask your teacher or a friend for help if you need it. Look at past exam papers. It means you can familiarise yourself with the layout and type of questions you’ll be asked. Practise completing exam papers within the set time limit to improve your exam techniques.
Take regular short breaks. Studying for hours and hours will only make you tired and ruin your concentration, which may exacerbate your anxiety. A break every 45 to 60 minutes is about right. Ask for help. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to talk to someone you trust, such as a family member, teacher, or friend. Lots of people find exams difficult to deal with, so do not be embarrassed to ask for support.
How to handle on exam days
Be prepared. Start the day with a good breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam hall. Remember to take everything you need, including pencils, pens, and a calculator or whichever resources your exam requires. A bottle of water and some tissues are also useful (remember to remove labels, since these are not allowed in exam rooms).
Take a few minutes to read the instructions and questions. Then you’ll know exactly what’s expected of you. Ask an exam supervisor if anything is unclear, you need extra paper, need to attend the WC or any support needs– they’re there to help you if it is within their remit to do so.
Coping with exams
Stick to your usual routine on exam days. This can help you feel calmer and more in control. Get enough sleep the night before, but don’t oversleep – exams start early!Exams can be stressful, so it’s important to pace yourself if you need to revise for more than one exam at a time. A steady increase in work overtime will be much easier to cope with than all in one go.Exams can be really tough, but exams are there to help you learn and improve. Look at exams as an opportunity to show your strengths and how well you’ve been learning. Try not to stress too much about them!
Tips for exams in a nutshell
- Get organized and give yourself plenty of time to study
- Make a study schedule and stick to it
- Break down what you need to learn into manageable chunks
- Study a little bit each day, and mix up your subjects so you don’t get bored
- Find a revision style that suits you – studying alone in a quiet room suits some people, but not everyone likes working in silence
- Ask your teacher or a friend for help if you need it
- Look at past exam papers – this will make you familiar with the layout and type of questions you’ll be asked
Effective revision strategies include:
- Highlight important instructions on the front cover of your exam.
- Highlight the command words and keywords in each question.
- Circle the number of available marks for each question. This will be an indication of how much to write and how many points to include in your answer.
- For longer mark questions, write a brief plan at the beginning of the answer neatly.
- Interrogate the question: make sure you have read the question correctly. Make sure you are answering exactly what it is asking. If in doubt read it again!
- Think about keywords/quotes/examples/facts/formulae that would be required in the answer, to help you plan and get your mind thinking.
- When you have completed the question, tick off the highlighted keywords to ensure you have answered it correctly and in the depth required.
- Never leave the exam early. If you find you have extra time, double-check your answers.
Be confident in yourself. Remember, exams are not the only thing that matters in life!
One of the biggest challenges for students is overcoming their fear of exams. The best way to do this? Practice, practice, and more practice! This article provided study tips on how you can prepare for an exam by preparing your brain with some effective exercises. We hope these ideas will help get you through any upcoming test anxiety you might be feeling. If they don’t work or if you’re still struggling with a specific subject area that’s giving you trouble, let us know what happens in class so we can provide additional resources or answer questions that come up during homework time.
Here at A2i are always happy to help with anything related to helping students pass their exams because our goal is ultimately to see all our students succeed academically and personally.