Final Thoughts on Exam Preparation

We have offered you a wide range of study and memorization tips designed to help you achieve a successful academic term. Each student is different, so you may find some information and advice more useful than others. Revision does not have to be stressful if you arm yourself with the right tools and work on techniques that maximize your memory capabilities. Now that you have all those tactics and strategies in place, it is time to think about the actual exam. Try these tips:

  • Try not to think too much about how important the exam is to your grade or academic career. It is important, but try to treat the exam day as any other day in order to keep your nerves at bay. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible.
  • Think ahead to how you will feel when your exams are over. There will be that sense of relief and accomplishment. Visualise how you will feel so that you can use that good feeling during your exam as a relaxation technique.
  • Get some sleep. If you stay up late studying the night before, you are just wearing your brain down.
  • Have all your tools together the night before (e.g. pens, pencil, rubber, ruler). This saves the morning panic that could increase your anxiety levels unnecessarily.
  • Set your alarm to make sure you get up in plenty of time to have a good meal and not have to rush out the door. This helps fortify your brain, provide energy, and keep you calm!

When you are sitting down for the exam, remember these suggestions that will continue to keep you calm and focused:

  • Get comfortable and set out your tools and your clock or wristwatch (if allowed).
  • Check that you have everything you need and that nothing is missing, like the question paper, answer papers, extra sheets of paper or exam book. Be sure to get what you need prior to the exam actually starting.
  • Listen very carefully to all the instructions that are given and read any of the instructions provided in writing. If you do not understand anything, ask about it immediately. You do not want to feel unsure about what it is that you need to do.

Now, it is that time that you have been preparing for. Here is what to expect and what you can do to keep yourself on the right track:

  • Take the time to read all the questions and information very carefully. Do not rush, as you may miss some very important instructions that are critical to scoring high marks. Check if you are to answer various questions in each section and what type of response is expected for each of those questions.
  • Take each question and think about how you will approach it before you start writing. Organise your thoughts and reach into your memory banks to pull out the coded information you will need to answer that question. This is where the mind map method really helps - the information is already organised into topics and subtopics that provide the pathway to answer the question.
  • Plan out your time for each section and be sure to leave yourself enough time at the end to check what you have done in case you can make some changes or another important point comes to mind.
  • Write as neatly as you can so that your marker does not misinterpret any of the information you have provided.
  • Make sure you show all your workings to illustrate how you arrived at your answer (if relevant for your subject).
  • If you find that your memory has somehow failed you on a particular section of the exam, just go onto the next section. In most exams, it really does not matter what questions you answer first, and this will help you relax and regroup.
  • Remain positive - you can do this, and you are ready to show just how much you learned.
  • If you find yourself running short on time, be sure that you get an answer down for each section or question, as you can still get some marks for partial answers in most cases. Think about at least getting that mind map onto the page.

We hope you feel more confident about your learning, memorizing, presenting, revising and exam-taking skills! Learning should be fun and meaningful, as it provides a storehouse of knowledge and life skills that will serve you well beyond your academic career. Good luck!