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How to get ready for exams

Monday 13 January 2014 Exam Tips

Exam stress is a reality for most of us but whether it is worrying about doing enough revision or remembering the stuff when the time comes, you can use these pointers to help combat it.

Make a revision plan

If you are well prepared you will feel much calmer when exam time comes around.

Equally, don’t worry if you don’t stick to your plan religiously. If you miss a session, just pick up from where you left off and don’t beat yourself up about it. Do as much as you can and remind yourself how much you’ve done. Making a note of all your hard work will make you feel better.

Take lots of breaks

Add time for in your plan for breaks and plenty of sleep.

Exercise can also help, as can eating nourishing food. This will help your energy levels and concentration. Brain food, such as fish and vegetables can make a big difference to your concentration levels. Limit the amount of caffeine you have, as this can affect your sleep and replace it with water.

Keep calm the exam hall

Take a few minutes to compose yourself.

Read the questions a few times and allocate time to each, adding in time for structuring you answers if they are essay based. Making short notes and annotations on questions at the beginning may help jog your memory and reassure you. If you do not think that you can do a question put it out of your mind and tackle it last.

After leaving an exam, don't think any more about it

Analysing answers with your friends and worrying about how you did will increase stress and may affect your performance in other exams.

Keep things in perspective

Stressing and worrying uses up energy meaning that you will not be able to work as effectively. Preparing well beforehand is all your institution asks of you during exam time.

If exam stress is getting too much for you and you do not feel like you can cope, talk to somebody about it in your union who are there solely to help students. You could also speak to your GP, if you don’t feel comfortable seeking help from your institution.

If things in your personal life are affecting your exam performance make your department aware of this as they may be able to take them into account when marking your exams. Each department has procedures for submitting mitigating circumstances.

Don’t worry in silence. NUS research in 2013 showed that 93 per cent of students asked have experienced mental distress at one time or another. There are services available to help students so make sure you make the most of them.