Exam preparation

Posted by Studentbox user
on 14/07/2016 at in  Exam resources

When we hear the word ‘Exams’, we enter a world of questions – what subject, when is the exam, and how can I pass? Preparing for an exam is the best way to walk into the examination room with more confidence than your class mate while being mentally prepared to answer the questions correctly.

Planning your time

Around exam time, it’s important to create a study timetable to make sure you have a routine of study, relaxation, exercise, food and sleep. See our set up a study timetable page to find helpful hints and templates.

Know what to expect

  • Type of exam – Will the exam include multi-choice, short answers, problems or long answer/essay questions?
  • Stationary – What can you take into the exam with you? Is it open book, are calculators allowed? Does my stationery need to be in a clear pencil case or bag?
  • Length – How long does the exam go for? Would I feel comfortable wearing a watch to keep my eye on the time?

Additional resources

Past exam papers – You may have access to past exam papers for your subjects, if so work through each one and familiarise yourself with the wording and questions asked. You can also practice doing the papers and reviewing your answers afterwards. Try find a nice quiet room with a clock or timer, and do your best to answer each question within the exam time frame; this should be stated on the exam paper.

If you are unsure whether you have access to past exam papers, check with your school.

The night before the exam

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Gather your stationery including pens, pencils, ruler, calculators (a spare battery is also handy), compass, any permitted books and your student ID card if required. Put them all in a folder or pencil you only have to pick up one thing on exam day
  • Confirm the time and place of the exam, you don’t want to turn up to the wrong place at the wrong time

Dealing with anxiety

Some anxiety can be accepted as normal, a natural healthy response to a challenging situation such as an exam. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, there are techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises that can help overcome this. If you believe that being anxious gets in the way, or have any study skill problems you would like assistance with, arrange to see your school counsellor who may be able to provide some helpful guidance.

If you experience a panic attack during exams, say to yourself (in your head) very firmly, 'STOP'. Shut your eyes and then say to yourself 'R-E-L-A-X'. Concentrate on breathing deeply. Begin this process by slowly but forcefully blowing all of the air out of your lungs. This allows you to slowly and effortlessly 'refill' your lungs with fresh air. Try to imagine a peaceful, serene setting, for example lying on the sand at a beach. When you feel calmer and ready to proceed with the exam, go to an easy exam question and re-establish your confidence.


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