by Nina Wied
Today I’m going to tell you about how I handle exams. For most people, exams are the stuff of nightmares, so I hope the following tips will help you approach every exam without any trepidation and pass with flying colours!
My classmates an I will be starting our fourth set of exams soon and compared to the first time round, we are a lot more relaxed as we are much better now at dealing with the pressure none of us knew from our school days. The following points help me prepare for exams:
It’s really important to make the most of the time you have to prepare. My tip is to create a study plan. That means detailing what you will cover on which day and for how long, and then sticking to it. Make sure you make your study plan in good time so you have enough time for any extra revision.
It’s already clear at the beginning of the semester that time will be a bit tight at the end, so try to start your exam preparations from the get go. I write up a summary of what was covered after every lecture to make sure that I understood everything and can go over it again before the next class. In previous exams, this was an absolute God send. I was able to knuckle down to studying straight away and didn’t have pages and pages of content to get through, which would have been very frustrating. Maybe this will be a good way for you to avoid unnecessary stress just before the exams start as well.
You often hear that you shouldn’t try and cram anymore in just before the exam. I disagree with that. It’s much more important not to try and learn anything new right before. It won’t help and will probably just cause confusion, so focus on repeating what you’ve already learned. Make sure you have everything you need the day before the exam so that you don’t forget anything and have one thing to worry about on the big day.
It’s important to get the day off to a good start. Plan enough time for a good breakfast and to get to the exam because the one thing you don’t want today is extra stress! I’m always quite nervous on this day, which is why I find it best to keep my distance from the others sitting the exam. I don’t need them stressing me out anymore than I already am! As soon as the exam starts, make sure you go through it systematically and make sure that you’ve been given everything you need. I always start with the easier questions and then work my way through the rest. If I were to start with the harder ones I might struggle with, that would probably have a negative impact on how I approach the rest of the paper. You should also think about how you are going to deal with a mental block. I hope it won’t happen, but you should definitely be prepared just in case. I find it helpful to take a deep breath, collect my thoughts and reorganise the pens on the desk, drink something or eat a chocolate bar.
Just as is the case for me, you probably have your next exam the very next day. Despite that, make sure you reward yourself for the one you’ve just done. Quite often I’ve already decided what I’m going to do and have something to look forward to after I walk out of the exam room. Try not to think too much about what you’ve just done. Talking to others who have taken the same exam can lead to you questioning yourself and will distract you from preparing for the next. The exam is over and you can’t change anything about it—accept it!
This is my final tip and the one that helps me the most. We tend to underestimate the power of positive thinking and self confidence. I hope I was able to help you a little bit with my tips.
Good luck in the next exams!