It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve sat in an exam hall nervously watching the clock and listening to a pin drop, exams just don’t get any easier.
Feeling stressed and nervous before an important test or exam is perfectly normal. In fact, a bit of adrenaline can actually be a good thing as the hormones we produce when stressed can cause changes to our brain cells that help memories to be stored more efficiently. Too much stress, however, can have the opposite effect and turn even the most poised and prepared student into a quivering wreck.
There are a huge number of coping techniques and strategies to help you get through this challenging time; getting organised early by doing sat preparation courses is one way to help you stay relaxed and calm, as is making sure you rest and eat well in the weeks leading up to the event.
Here are some more top tips to help you stay relaxed, calm and focused during your next test or examination:
Revision is key
It should go without saying, but you might be surprised how many students turn up to exams having only done a minimal amount of revision, hoping they’ll just be able to ‘wing it’ on the day. Sometimes it turns out okay and they manage to pass – but imagine how well they could have done if only they’d taken the time to go over key information and refresh their memories on topics that were taught several months previously.
Studies into the human brain have shown that information is stored better if long breaks are left between sessions. Therefore, rather than trying to cram the night before the test, prepare a revision schedule several weeks in advance to give yourself the best opportunity.
It’s also important to find a revision style that suits you. Studying alone in a quiet room works well for some people, but others find the quiet distracting and prefer to have some background noise or music playing softly.
Looking at past exam papers can also be very beneficial as it allows you to familiarise yourself with the exam layout and types of questions you’re likely to be asked.
Positive thoughts can actually help you relax by focusing your brain’s attention onto something completely stress free. This can be easier said than done during examination stress, but try to focus on just one small part of your day or from the previous day that made you happy. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an event in the future that you could focus on instead?
The point is that you’re turning negative emotions into something positive instead.
Did you know that drinking a glass of water before an exam could help to increase your final score by up to 10%? This could make a huge difference to your grade. Scientists believe staying hydrated helps the information flow freely between brain cells, it can also help you stay relaxed by distracting your thoughts momentarily.