We’re officially halfway through the exam period, and all we can say is, thank goodness 🙏🏼
Of course, plenty of revision is absolutely vital to achieve the best grades possible, but while you’re in that exam hall, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure everything goes as swimmingly as possible.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
After weeks of revision, the night before an exam is absolutely crucial to ensure your time in the exam hall goes as smoothly as possible.
Stay calm by listening to a soothing podcast, reassuring YouTube video, or a motivational Spotify playlist, to get you pumped for the next day. It’s important to make sure you eat well and get a good night’s sleep beforehand, so you’re well-rested and ready for anything the exam might throw at you.
The evening beforehand is also a great time to make sure you’re prepared and have everything you need for the next day, so you don’t have to panic-pack everything in the morning.
Put any last minute notes, calculators, pens, pencils, rubbers and rulers in your bag and give yourself enough time to check you have absolutely everything you need. Realising you’ve forgotten that all-important scientific calculator or translation dictionary is extra stress you just don’t need on the day.
SAM’s Exam tips 14: On a question worth 6 marks, even if your final answer is wrong you can still get 5 out of 6 marks by showing your method. pic.twitter.com/ORKsSaP76U
— Sam SQA (@mysqa_sam) April 30, 2019
THE MORNING BEFORE
At this point, you’re probably not going to be able to cram any more information into your brain, so spend the morning making sure you eat a filling breakfast – you don’t want your stomach rumbling halfway through – drink plenty of water and – this goes without saying – make sure you make a last minute bathroom break, so you don’t have to waste time going during the exam.
Make sure to leave in plenty of time before the exam, too. Leave earlier than you normally would, to take into account traffic or public transport delays, and if you’re walking, this means you can take your time, enjoy the walk and make sure you don’t build up a sweat.
It can be stressful standing outside the exam hall, with emotions running high and last minute cramming taking place. Just make sure to focus on yourself, and not get caught up in the hysteria of it all. If you’ve put in the work, you have nothing to worry about.
It’s here – the moment you’ve been working so hard for. Though it’s impossible to know which questions will come up, there are a couple of life-saving hacks you can implement in the exam hall to calm your nerves and get on with answering.
Before anything else, make sure to read through the exam paper. Read all of the questions at least twice, to make sure you know exactly what they’re asking you. Then, you can start to make your way through them.
SAM’s Exam tips 23: Read the question completely and fully understand what the examiner wants before you begin answering the questions. pic.twitter.com/kXPs9y9fbZ
— Sam SQA (@mysqa_sam) May 13, 2019
Everyone has a different exam technique, but we’d recommend answering all of the questions you know first. This will boost your self-confidence, which will help you tackle the more difficult problems afterwards.
If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or nervous, take a moment for yourself. Take deep breaths, have a drink of water, or ask if you can be excused to go to the bathroom for a breather, if need be.
For essay-based exams, take regular breaks, to stop your hand from becoming too sore. Practice some hand and finger exercises beforehand.
If you have a major mind-blank (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us) try to think back to when you learned about the topic in class, or try and visualise your revision notes in your mind and see if this jogs your memory. You do know the answers, you just need to take a moment to remember them.
There’s no denying that exams are scary and you might be feeling the pressure, which is completely normal. But, as long as you know you’ve put in the hours and worked your hardest, you’re well on your way to success, no matter what your grades may be.