The do’s and don’ts of exam season prep

Exam season is (sadly) upon us and we’re freaking out! There’s no easy way to be stress-free for the next six weeks, but there are ways you should, and shouldn’t, prepare.

Exam season begins this week and we’re gearing up for every possibility. Once you’re in your seat and wondering if you can appeal over how much that one invigilator is coughing, it’s important to try and stay calm.

We’ve rounded up some essential do’s and don’ts to help you prepare.


Eat breakfast. There’s a reason why your mum tells you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Skipping your morning scran right before an exam can make you tired, distracted, and worst of all, hangry.

Eating protein-rich foods like oats, nuts and eggs are perfect to prepare you for exam day. If you need an energy boost before you walk in to the hall grab a banana before you leave the house.

Sugary drinks will only make you crash an hour in to the paper, but water will keep you hydrated and alert. Staying hydrated before and during your exams is critical.

Stay hydrated. De-hydration can make you distracted, irritable and frustrated, but even the physical act of drinking water can be beneficial during an exam. Pausing for a sip of water allows your brain to refocus and approach questions from a fresh perspective if you are stuck.

Study what you know. No matter how many practice papers you finish, there’s probably going to be one question that throws you off guard. Instead of spending the night before an exam worrying that you’ll open the paper and be clueless, run over what you know will come up.

Being over prepared for the topics you are sure will appear will mean that the one question you can’t answer won’t affect your overall mark too much.

Find support. The pressure to succeed during exam season is especially high and can cause extra stress. If you are feeling stressed or unable to cope during exam season it’s important to look for support.

Talk to your parents, teachers or friends about how you are feeling, or contact an organisation like Student Minds or Samaritans to chat.


Feel bad for avoiding friends. If you are feeling nervous in the lead up to exams social situations can feel overwhelming. Don’t feel bad for cancelling plans or not checking the group chat for a few hours so that you can chill out.

Top up on caffeine. Energy drinks and coffee might seem like a good idea when you need to power through the last topic you are studying, but they’ll hinder you, not help.

High levels of sugar and caffeine can interrupt sleep, cause migraines, and leave you unfocused. Water is the winner when it comes to exam season beverages, even if it doesn’t give you the same sugary boost.

Compare answers post-exam. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your exam was a disaster to have all your friends say they aced it. Comparing your answers won’t change what you wrote, it will only increase your stress.

Do something fun or treat yourself after you’ve finished each exam, you deserve it.

Cram the night before. After months of preparation, studying a brand new topic the night before will only stress you out more. Focus on what you know and get a good sleep instead of staying up all night to learn something new.

Worry all summer. Whether you think your exams went well or it was a complete disaster, you can’t change the results. Spending your summer holidays worrying about results day will only mean you miss out.

After months of studying, stress and exams, you deserve some down time. Make the most of your summer holidays and definitely don’t sit inside wondering what will happen on 6 August.

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