You’ve spent months preparing for exam day and it’s almost here. We’ve put together some top tips on how to approach these final hours in a calm and effective manner.
1. Give your brain a workout
Your brain is an important muscle. When you aren’t studying your course content keep your brain active by completing crosswords and number and word games.
2. Concentration is key
When your Tutor is providing feedback, or when you are reading content that you will need to remember for the exam, remember to concentrate. Concentration is essential to ensure you retain information.
3. Repeat after me...
Repetition ensures your brain can retain information. The earlier you can start repeating key statistics and data, the easier it will be to recall more detailed information for your exam.
4. Don’t pull an all-nighter
It’s tempting to cram in as much last-minute study as possible, but getting enough sleep the night before your exam is really important. Aim to get a full eight hours of quality sleep. This will actually help your brain to retain all the information you need for your exam. Wake up refreshed and ready for action.
5. March on a full stomach
Start your exam day with a hearty breakfast. Research has shown that eating breakfast has a positive impact on exam results – so tuck in. A high protein choice, such as eggs or yoghurt is perfect for keeping you alert, whilst carbohydrates like porridge will sustain your energy levels over the day ahead.
6. Drink to think
Try to avoid caffeine, especially if you don’t drink it often – as it can make you feel nervous and jittery. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. This will help you to maintain concentration levels and alertness. Keep a bottle of water on your desk, so that you remember to drink regularly during those important last few hours of study.
7. Move it
In the days leading up to your exam, make time to take some light exercise. Even just a brisk walk will get your blood circulating to your brain, as well as helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and boosting sleep levels.
8. Take a break
In the final hours before your exam, make sure you break-off from studying every 20 minutes. Talk a quick stretch and walk around – this will help to keep your brain oxygenated and attention levels sharp.
9. Be prepared
Avoid any last-minute stress by finding out all the details of your exam – such as location, time and access arrangements – well in advance. That way, you’ll arrive in plenty of time feeling calm and prepared. If possible, try to avoid too much pre-exam interaction with others and focus on the task ahead.
10. Read and re-read
At last, you’re in the exam and have the paper in front of you. It’s easy to leap straight in – but take your time and read each question carefully – circling all the key words. Check you fully understand what every question is asking before you put pen to paper.
11. Plan your time
Look carefully at the marks allocated to each question to understand how important it is and how much work it needs. Plan your time accordingly. Tackle questions you CAN answer first – it will help you to settle in and will boost your confidence. If you get stuck, come back to a difficult question later with fresh eyes.
12. Check and re-check
Use any time left at the end of your exam to carefully check every answer for mistakes or to add improvements. If you have a two-hour exam, then ideally try to leave about 20 minutes for checking – these final changes could be the difference that gets you a higher grade.
Once your paper is handed in, relax. All the hard work is over and you deserve a rest. Try not to get drawn into post-exam discussions about how others answered each question – it’s too late to change now, so try to stay positive.
We’re here to help
If you have any questions or need guidance to help with your exam preparation, please do contact your tutor or our Student Support Team.
From past paper marking to additional tutorials on key areas, our tutors offer additional services to help you prepare for exams. To find out more about these services, please get in touch on: 0800 389 2839.
We have worked closely with UCAS to prepare a series of free study skills guides, which provide further information and guidance.