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Don’t let the panic of the exam period get the better of you though, get ready in advance, keep a clear head on the day and no doubt you’ll be one step closer to graduating with honours.

Preparing for Exams

The most important part of preparing for an exam is studying the correct subjects. Look back over the topics you learned about during lectures, review your assigned readings and essays and practice answering past exam papers. Once you know what to study, concentrate on how you study. You must remember -

  • To wear loose, comfortable clothes while you study.
  • To study in a well lit, quiet and cool room.
  • To eat before studying so you aren’t distracted by cravings or rumblings.
  • To turn off the television, radio and Internet while you study.
  • To study a little bit every night to avoid cramming the night before the exam.
  • To predict and answer questions that may come up on the exam.
  • To devise and answer different types of questions, including; multiple choice, true or false, fill in the blank, matching, translations, short paragraphs, essays.
  • To study with a partner or group – if you won’t distract each other.
  • To employ a tutor if you need a little extra help.
  • To make a final, one page “review sheet” that you can study in your final moments before the exam. Just make sure you discard it properly so no one can accuse you of cheating!

Taking The Exams

Start your exam calmly by preparing for it from the moment you wake up that day. Be sure to arrive at your exam -

  • Early.
  • Well rested.
  • Having had a filling breakfast or lunch.
  • With all materials you will need, including; pencils, pens, reading glasses, calculators, maths kit, exam card/number/registration materials, student number and student card, if required and photo identification, if required.

When you enter the exam room, take a few minutes to get set up before diving into the exam questions. Remember that these final moments are your last chance to get ready, so:

  • Put your name and other identification information on your exam/answer sheet.
  • Read the directions to all sections.
  • Make a brief plan about how you will divide your time between sections.
  • Outline an answer to every paragraph or essay question.
  • Take a few deep breaths every time you feel nervous or panicked.
  • Keep rest breaks just short enough to recharge and move on.

Exams can be nerve-wracking, but unless you want to fail your courses there is nothing to it but to battle through them and move on. If you feel nervous about upcoming exams, remind yourself that you are not expected to know everything, you need only prove that you can grasp the subject matter and add your own analysis to certain topics. If the worst does happen and you do fail an exam, the good news is that most institutions will let you retake them later. Don’t aim for this, but think of it as a Plan B – always there if you need it. Good luck!

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