Many students spend months and sometimes even years preparing for upcoming crucial exams. The thought of having year-long efforts evaluated in mere hours can be overwhelming for many. The pressure often mounts over time and eventually affects your well-being, taking a toll on your self-confidence. However, you can choose to build the ability to stay calm and reduce stress during exams by equipping yourself with helpful exam tips and routines.
Planning ahead for the big day could be a great way to combat pre-exam anxiety. Invest your time in developing habits that put your mind at ease the night before the exams and sustain your energy throughout the day of your exam. Create revision schedules in advance to ensure that you get to prepare to the best of your ability. Here are a few tips on pre-exam routines that can help you understand how to overcome exam fear with confidence:
Organise your bag for the next day. Sharpen your pencils, stock extra refills for your pen, and ensure you have all the geometrical instruments necessary — a ruler, eraser, compass, protractor, etc. If you are allowed to take a calculator then double-check its battery. Don’t forget to pack your student ID card and your admit card.
Sacrificing your sleep just to add a couple of hours to your study time? Bad idea. While many students tend to assume that cutting down on sleep means they get to prepare better, the reality is that our brain needs some rest in order to store and consolidate any new information. It is vital for students to get at least 6 hours of sleep to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Skipping on sleep will only make your cranky and distracted, none of which anyone would want to experience on an exam day.
Assess your preparation by attempting practice tests and solving previous years’ question papers. This habit will help you evaluate your efforts and improve your time management skills. In addition, while revising, come up with your own set of possible questions and figure out answers for each. This is a great way to test your conceptual understanding while helping you gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses.
During the 12-24 hours that lead up to an exam, all you need to focus on is revising what you have already studied. Make sure you are off all social media platforms during the exams so that you can direct all your attention toward your studies. There’s always a chance that you pick up your phone for checking messages but end up tapping on a social media app, losing yourself in a rabbit hole for hours.
Distractions are not just limited to digital but include physical too, such as a noisy environment, a chatty roommate, or a cluttered study space. Clear your study space of everything that could divert your attention away from studying. Make sure your parents or your roommates are aware of your study timetable.
Starting your exam day on a calm, positive note is important to keep the exam blues at bay. Kickstart your day with your favourite playlist and sing along to activate your brain. A great way to feel confident is through positive self-affirmations. Prep yourself for the test by avoiding negative self-talk. Try deep breathing exercises and focus on your breath, reminding yourself that you’re ready and you’re going to try your best.
The morning of an exam is absolutely not the time to learn new concepts. But you can utilise the early hours to glance through key concepts including formulas, equations, and theories. You should ideally refer to your own notes when doing so instead of going back to your textbook, to avoid feeling overwhelmed at the last moment.
The last thing you want during an exam is to feel famished while attempting crucial questions. Even if you are not a breakfast person, skipping it during exams would not be a wise move. Always have a healthy, filling breakfast loaded with nutrients. Make sure you are hydrated and that you have access to sufficient water in the exam hall. Add fruits and nuts to your breakfast to stay nourished and energised for a longer duration. Avoid salty food as it can make you feel bloated and lethargic.
You may not know the entire text by heart but that shouldn’t affect your confidence in what you have learned so far. Try not to focus on the parts that you are doubtful about, instead, remind yourself of all the concepts that you have come to completely understand.
Being confident about your preparation is one of the key elements of acing an exam. So, have faith in your efforts and face your exams with confidence.
The wait before getting into the exam hall can be stressful for many students. But it is also a time when you need to consciously avoid negative talks to continue being confident about your performance. So, if you find a bunch of classmates who seem to be panicking, stay away.
At the end of the day, exams are all about assessing how much you have learned — so as long as you are well-prepared and confident, there is not much that you need to stress about. Go to the exam hall with a calm mind and trust that your hard work will reward you with the result you deserve. You can also check out the Feynman technique of learning that you can incorporate into your learning process.
Do you practise an exam day routine? How does it help you? Tell us in the comments below!
1. How can I stay calm on exam day?
1. Avoid last-minute cramming 2. Remember that your self-worth is not defined my exam results 3. Try self-affirmations, motivate yourself with positive thoughts 4. Eat nutritious food before the exam 5. Get a good night's sleep
2. What should I not do before an exam?
1. Avoid excess caffeine 2. Say no to heavy, oily junk food 3. Avoid cramming the night before the exam 4. Don't overthink, have faith in your preparation
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