No matter how well you prepare for exams, you will only do as well as your performance on the big day. While you are taught everything you need to pass an exam, you’re not really taught how to take tests and this is where many students underperform. If you want to pass your exams with flying colors, then take heed of the tips below.
Be exam ready
Cramming the night before may seem like a good idea, but it’s just about the worst thing you can do. You need to get at least eight hours of sleep so that your brain is performing at its peak. While we’re on that subject; you wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon on coffee and chocolate, so don’t ask your brain to run a mental marathon on junk. Have a good breakfast before you write an exam so that your brain has the fuel it needs to perform at its peak. Exhaustion or lack of protein and carbohydrates will severely affect your ability to think and engage in higher cognitive functioning. Your brain uses 20% of your energy intake – so give it the fuel it needs to perform well.
It’s all in the timing
You should never run out of time in an exam. Start by reading through the entire exam so you know what you have to accomplish. Divide the time you have among the questions and then start. When you have used the time you set aside for a question, move on to the next one. If you have free time at the end, you can come back to it.
Relax… you’ve got this
Anxiety is the enemy of clear thought. If you feel nervous or get worried when you come across a question you can’t answer, take a deep breath and calm down. Skip questions you find difficult to answer and start with those you can so that your confidence builds through the exam. You may feel differently about a question the second time around.
No matter how great your answer is, if the teacher can’t read it, they can’t give you a mark. Write slowly and legibly and answer questions clearly. Leave space at the end of each answer so you can come back and elaborate if you have time at the end of the exam.
Check it twice!
When you get to the end of your paper and still have time left over, check your answers carefully. You may have made a mistake or misread a question and you can save yourself valuable marks if you catch those mistakes before it’s too late.
Let it go
When you are done with your exam, try to put it out of your mind. The exam season is long and its best to not enter into exam post-mortems that will leave you feeling anxious. Rather focus on your next challenge instead.
Take care of yourself during exam time. It’s a stressful period and its easy to get into a cycle of junk food, little sleep and anxiety. Try getting some exercise, eating well and getting some sleep; you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make to your grades.