Taking the Fear out of Exams

Most people dread exams.  It is also a fact that you will have to pass a lot of exams to get your degree.  So you can ignore the fact that you hate exams or you can take practical steps to not only help you get through them successfully but to help you thrive.  These are my five pointers for getting through exams:

  1. On exam day, avoid talking to other students before and after the exam.  Other students will want to discuss “Did you study this?” or “Did you get that right?” and it will only make you question yourself and stress you out.  Instead, before the exam sit by yourself and listen to some music to block out other people.  Resist the urge to do any last minute cramming.  If you don’t know it by now you’re never going to know it.
  2. The night before eat a proper meal and a get a good night’s sleep and eat a sensible breakfast on exam day.  We need a good night’s sleep so our brain can perform at its best and good food for the energy we will need to get through the exam.  Don’t skimp on this otherwise you’ll find your energy and brain failing you halfway through the exam.
  3. Look at your course objectives and examination guide.  If you’re objectives say weeks 2-5 are worth 20% each and the others only 5% make sure you have those four weeks reviewed.  Split your time into what will be the focus of the exam.
  4. Some examiners will be kind and let you know what topics will be on the exam.  If that is the case focus your attention on them.  If you’re weak in some areas get the help you need as early as possible.
  5. Do a practice run at least once.  Get a friend to compile an exam paper for you or get hold of a past exam paper and test yourself under exam conditions.  Get someone to mark you and you’ll be able to assess what are your strong and weak areas and how you are going pacing yourself during the exam.

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