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Things you should do and NEVER do for your exams

You have revised tirelessly for a whole year (or maybe not) and finally, THE determining day has arrived, the exam day. You wake up feeling stressed, or maybe you did not sleep at all! You dread the day ahead, or the opposite, you feel motivated. Whatever your mindset, here are some steps you should take for your exam day to go smoothly.

Before the exam

1. Get some Zzz (Sleep)

The golden rule for the night before the exam is: Do Not Neglect Sleep! PLEASE. Revising until late at night or waking up too early, may not be the smartest move.

If you do not have concentration on the day of the exam, all the effort and hours you've dedicated to revision in the past will be irrelevant.

You will need 100% of your focus for the limited duration of the exam. If you feel drowsy or tired due to the lack of sleep, you may not correctly grasp the question and provide an irrelevant answer.

2. Make your tummy happy

Start your day with a good breakfast. Maybe you can take something supplementary to boost your focus, such as orange juice or hot chocolate.

3. Forgot something? Take all your equipment

Remember to take everything you need, including your ID card, pencils, pens, a calculator etc... A bottle of water and some tissues are also useful. (The tissues are not for crying)

4. Location? Time?

Make sure you know the practical details about your exam.

  • Where it will be held

  • What time it starts, and when do you need to get there

  • If you have to travel some distance, what time you will need to leave

  • What do you need to take with you

During the exam

1. On your marks. Get set. GO! (stay motivated)

Enter the exam room with a positive and motivated mindset!

Don't focus on how many marks you will get or how (un)prepared you are. Be present. You know more than you think!

2. Instructions, please

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 – they're there to help you.

3. Leaf through your papers (furiously)

Make you that you don't miss any questions because you have not turned a page.

4. Underline the keywords

Make sure you do not go out of subject or waste precious time writing more than intended.

5. Tik Tok. Check the clock!

This seems obvious but sometimes we are so engrossed in the paper that we forget to check the time.

6. Stick to your plan

You planned how much time you needed for the questions. Stick to it! Do not panic if you get stuck on a question, but try to leave yourself enough time, in the end, to come back to it.

7. Running out of time?

Oh no there's only 15 minutes left and two long questions remaining! What should you do? First, try to get the 'easy marks'. Include any relevant definitions and/or calculations. Make sure you've done that for each sub-questions. If you have some time left, include some details.

After the exam

Just, forget it. (seriously)

Once the exam is finished, forget about it.

Do not spend too much time going over it in your head or comparing answers with your friends. Just focus on the next exam instead.


Exam day can be nerve-wracking, but with these simple tips, you’ll be sure you do your best!


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