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.