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How to prepare for the first day of exams

Start your preparation the evening before an exam

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in education

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Exams are stressful experiences, no doubt. Sadly, we can’t wave a magic wand and remove all the stress they cause, but we can give you some helpful survival hints.

Tips for the first day of exams

Start your preparation the evening before an exam

  • Don't spend the night cramming; instead, take some time to relax and try to get a good night's sleep
  • Check your timetable and make sure you know the correct time your exam starts and get there a half hour early.
  • Set two alarms so that you won’t have to worry about sleeping in.

On the morning of the exam

  • Get up early so that you're not in a rush
  • Have a good breakfast. Some scrambled eggs on toast or an omelette will provide you with the energy you need
  • Don't try to study new info whilst waiting to enter the exam room
  • Take some notes of any points that you don't want to forget
  • Stay away from anyone who is complaining or panicking about the exams
  • Go to the bathroom before the exam starts so as to not cut into valuable writing time

In the exam room

  • Take a few deep slow breaths
  • If your mind goes blank, you can speak to the exam supervisor and ask to be accompanied out of the room until you have time to regain your calm.
  • Take time to read the exam paper carefully. The main reason people do badly in exams is that they don't read the question carefully and don't do what they are asked.
  • Work out how much time you have for each question.
  • Start with the question you feel most confident about and keep a check on the time.
  • Avoid looking at other classmates. They will always seem to be writing more and appear more confident than you! Use all the time you can, don't worry if people around you seem to be writing more than you; just worry about yourself.
  • Leave five or ten minutes at the end of the exam to review everything and to make sure all your identification details are on every page. Running out of time can be a common problem, so pace yourself well.

After the exam

  • Do not engage in a post-mortem after the exam. Instead, concentrate on what has gone well.
  • If exam stress is getting you down, tell someone how you're really feeling. Don't put on a brave face, particularly at home.
  • Take a break before starting to study for the next exam.
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Published January 18th, 2013
Last updated June 5th, 2018
Tags exams stress study junior cert leaving cert
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