What to do on exam day to get the best result you can!

As exams creep closer and closer, students are starting to feel the mounting pressure. But there's a proper way of maximising your results. Keep reading as we walk you through what you should do during exam day!

a year ago   •   4 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Yustinus Tjiuwanda / Unsplash

If you are reading this, hopefully you are almost at the finish line and wondering what the last few things you should be doing for your exam the next day!

1. What to do the night before an exam?

This greatly depends on the subject of the exam, however, the night before should consist of some last minute revision. Try to avoid doing anything new unless necessary, as this may stress you out and you want to remain relaxed.

For content subjects, ensure you have read through all your notes to refresh your memory and help commit what you have studied to your long term memory. If there is anything you feel like you really don’t remember, spend some time learning this content. Just try to make the most of what you know and ensure you go to sleep confident in your ability and knowledge rather than stressing yourself out regarding everything you don’t know.

For subjects like Maths and Physics, which are more question and problem solving based, it would be useful to go over any problems you struggled with in the past and look over the solutions of these. It is difficult to cram these subjects as it takes a huge amount of practice to be prepared, so it is useless to try to do a heap of questions the night before.

Pack everything you need for the exam the next day, set an alarm and relax! Maybe even go for a quick walk around the block to put you at ease and go to sleep with a positive attitude.

2. How early / late to go to bed ?

Sleep is vital when it comes to exams. Being well rested and having enough hours of sleep ensures that your brain has enough time to refuel. Not only will you be tired and unable to focus with a lack of sleep, but you will also not be able to unlock your full academic performance potential due to rendering a sharp decrease in your memory tasks.

It is recommended to at least get around 7-9 hours of sleep. Hence, the time that you go to bed is greatly dependent on the time you are required to wake up.

3. How to wake yourself up in the morning?

The answer to this is unique to each individual as some may require an alarm or a parent to wake them up. If you are able to wake up to an alarm or song, it is best to rely on that to wake up (ensuring that you have set it the night before), just to prevent the possibility that your parent (or whoever is waking you up) forgets or sleeps in.

However, overall, It is best to not try any new methods to wake yourself up as if you are a deep sleeper and try setting an alarm for the first time, you may find yourself having slept through the alarm going off and miss getting up in time for your exam.

To be safe, you can always have one person to wake you up and also have an alarm set just in case.

4. First thing to do in the morning of exam day

Relax! Try not to stress yourself out and remind yourself of all the effort you put in prior to today, in preparation for your exam.

Depending on the nature of the subject, for instance if it is content focused such as English or History, you may want to have a quick read through your notes just to refresh your memory. But try to avoid trying to actively recall your notes the morning of the exam as any failures to successfully recall information could result in stressing yourself out (which should be avoided at all costs during the day of your exam!).

Additionally, first thing in the morning, ensure you have breakfast to kickstart your energy for the day! You need something to generate enough power for you to be able to focus during your exam.

Moreover, ensure you have all the necessary equipment required for your exam, whether that be pens, pencils, ruler or calculator. It is recommended that you have multiple pens just in case one runs out during your exam.

How to get to school?

Where possible, it would be best to get driven or carpool since sometimes public transport can be late or can cause additional stress if you missed your transport and the next one wouldn’t get you to school on time for your exam.

However, if that is your only option, try to get to your station early to avoid any chances of missing your mode of transport if it comes a little earlier than scheduled. Additionally, you can opt into choosing an earlier option. Even though you would arrive earlier than required, this provides a buffer just in case the scheduled mode of transport is late or missed, or if there are any traffic delays.

What to do as you arrive at school?

At school, it’s best to try to avoid talking to other students who are extremely stressed out prior to the exam as you may absorb some of that stress even though you may be extremely well prepared. It is important to be in control of your mindset and ensure it includes positivity and confidence, and isn’t hindered by others.

What to do as you're walking into the exam room?

Take a deep breath! It’s important that you remain calm in that exam room to ensure you perform well.

Set out all your belongings on your desk so that it is easily accessible during your exam.

What to do in between exams if you have two in one day

Take a break and relax for a bit! Maybe eat lunch during your break to provide you with enough energy for your second exam. Additionally, where applicable, revise content to refresh your memory, but try not to stress yourself out!

Overall, in the last 24 hours before an exam, not much more can be done that will dramatically improve your grade in your exam. The most important thing is to ensure self care and ensure a positive mindset is attained so that you can walk into the exam with confidence and minimal stress. This is imperative as you could have done the best preparation for your exam, but struggle with memory recall, or misread a question, due to excessive stress levels.

Written by KIS Academics Tutor Sandrine Maximous for Maths and more HSC subjects! You can view Sandrine's profile here and request her as a tutor.

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