Exam time is almost here and you know what that means … stress!! Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to completely remove stress from exams, but there are things you can do to lessen the stress and prepare yourself for the day.
Determine Details: The last thing you want to be worried about on the day of the exam is if it starts at 10 or 10:30, what login name you need to use, and whether it is closed or open book. Get the details out of the way right from the start of the semester (or as early as possible) and make sure you have things noted in your calendar in case you forget.
Get Organized: Ever have that dream where you forget your homework? Well, if you were organized this would not happen. The same goes for a test! If you need a webcam, make sure you have one that works. If you need a mouse, make sure you have one that is compatible with your computer. If the exam is open book or open note, make sure you have all your materials laid out and ready to go before the exam starts to avoid wasting time.
Carry a Spare: In the days of number 2 pencils we were always advised to have a few extra or carry a pencil sharpener in case the lead broke. Now, with exams being taken on the computer, there are other worries. Make sure your battery is charged and your power cord works. If you are having problems with these I highly suggest replacing them prior to the test, or borrowing another computer or extra cord just in case. Also make sure your internet is properly functioning – if you need to, plug into a hardline to avoid being dropped by your wireless connection.
Sleep Soundly: It is extremely important to get enough sleep before an exam. Pulling an all-nighter is a terrible idea. Not only will you be tired and not functioning at peak levels, but your brain will not have the opportunity to categorize what you just learned if you do not let it rest.
Stay Positive: Confidence is half the battle. If you think you can pass, you have a better shot at it. Stay positive and bring that into the exam with you. It is just a test afterall!
Eat, Sleep, and Be Normal: Sometimes when students get ito exam mode, everything else falls to the wayside. But remember, you still need to live your life. You need to maintain a proper diet, you need to get the recommended amount of sleep, you need to live a normal life, and not give yourself over entirely to finals.
Avoid the Chatter: Before the exam avoid talking with other students about the subject material. They might confuse you or bring up a question that you don’t know the answer to … believe me this will stress you out! You can talk to other students, just avoid the topics of the exam.
Teach to Learn: The best way to make sure that you know something is to try and teach it. If you have the opportunity to teach it to another student take it, otherwise try teaching it to a family member or friend.
Try, Try, Again: Figure out a way to study that works for you, or use multiple different ways of studying. What works best for one person could be terrible for another. Try using index cards, or memorizing outlines. Try study groups where you discuss the material. Try studying on your own, with a partner, or in a small group. Try new things and methods until you find what works for you, because eventually you will find something that works.
Practice Makes Perfect: Take practice exams. I cannot repeat this enough … take practice exams, take practice exams, take practice exams. If your test is multiple choice, practice with multiple choice. If your test is essay, practice with essay questions. Practice under time constraints and test day conditions as well. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be with the format and then you will just have to worry about the material being tested.
Read.Every.Word.: This goes for the instructions and the questions!! Read very carefully. One word could make the answer completely different.
In and Out: Just Breathe … in and out … in and out … in and out.