I have two weeks until my first exam, and in the midst of revising/memorising dates and names and a whole lot of information about contemporary Japan/Japan’s politics, Chinese cities and trying not to procrastinate on asos too much, Following on from my revision tips post, I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite ‘exam tips’. Even if I’m guilty of not always following them. Exams are a stressful time, even the smallest things can help.
#1 Don’t cram ’till stupid o’clock the night before.
It’s not going to help much. Sleeping will. Getting a good nights rest before an exam is going to do a lot more for your grades than going into it on no or not enough sleep will. If you don’t know the content by the night before, cramming isn’t a surefire way of hoping your short-term memory pulls through. Sleep. You don’t want to do it in the exam.
#2 Be familiar with the set-up of the paper
You’re already on the back foot by not knowing what the questions are going to be, obviously, so why hinder yourself more by not knowing what format to expect when you turn the first page. Short answers? Multiple choice? Essays? Have a look at some past papers.
#3 Take a bottle of water in with you (following regulations, of course)
Hydration improves brain function, and drinking water in an exam can help relieve anxiety, according to scientists. Also, in 2012, newspapers reported on a study looking at students and water consumption in exams. Students that took water into an exam with them, on average, did better than those that didn’t. So yeah.
#4 Plan all essays! (also time manage)
No really. Plan all essays, even in an exam. Write down the important points you know from your revision that are relevant to the question, put them in an order, add introduction and conclusion – now write. It doesn’t have to be a long and/or detailed plan, the bare bones will do, just as long a you have a structure to follow. It’ll help heaps and keep you from going off on irrelevant, time wasting tangents.
Time management is also really, really important. If you have two questions to answer and three hours to do so, then that’s one and a half hours per question. (Adjust to the situation as necessary.) If you’re more comfortable with earlier questions on your paper, do those first, get them out of the way so that you have more time to spend on the harder ones. Make sure you answer the question. Leave time to check your answers. I’m sounding like my parents. 😀
#5 Don’t care about the people in front/to the side/in your peripheral vision
So the kid next to you has asked for their third sheet of extra paper and you are panicking because you’re on the back page of your first. D o n ‘ t w o r r y. They could be writing a load of utterly irrelevant crap, they could just have massive handwriting, they could be panicking, or they could be answering with an incredibly long and detailed answer that will get full marks. Whatever. Good for them. Focus on you, what you’re doing at your own pace. Follow your plan, do your own thing. They don’t matter right now, you can ask them the reason if you so wish once you’re out of the exam hall, just get your ideas down as comprehensively as you can manage in your own handwriting size in your own time. Good.
What are your best tips for in-exam situations? Are there some new ones you’ve found on your quest to improve your study game? Let me know while I write notes about prime ministers. I don’t even do politics. Good luck in your exams if you have them, and I hope that you’ve had an ace day today 🙂