It’s exam day, or almost. To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, you’re thinking:
“¢ Be ready: Self-test to ensure you know your material.
“¢ Be rested: Lack of sleep doesn’t help your powers of recollection and concentration. All-nighters can actually cause more problems than they can solve.
“¢ Be fed: Food is fuel not only for the body, but also the brain. You need to be alert, and having enough to eat is just as important as having enough sleep. Don’t overeat though; you know what happens after a large turkey dinner at Thanksgiving? You don’t want that happening during your exam!
“¢ Be positive: Think to yourself, “I’ll do my best”, not, “I can’t do this.”
“¢ Be on time: Give yourself a chance to relax and settle in when you arrive at your exam site. Take a few deep breaths to help reduce any anxiety you might be experiencing.
“¢ Be planful: Look over your test and budget your time. Read the exam questions carefully, and if anything is unclear, ask your invigilator.
“¢ Be focused: Read everything carefully, and spend time on what you can answer, rather than agonising over what you can’t. You can always go back afterwards and try again. Sometimes other exam questions can trigger information on questions you may have skipped.
“¢ Be logical: Use the time you’re given, and look over your work before you leave.
The above list was adapted from: Guidelines for Taking the Exam from the University of Ohio: http://www.ohiou.edu/aac/tip/examprep/guidelines.html
One thing I’ve always found useful, even if it ends up not giving me any marks, is never to leave anything blank. On a multiple choice exam you have a good chance of striking upon the correct answer, and with an essay or short-answer exam, anything you write for an answer is better than writing nothing at all. You might get it wrong, but you also might get it right, or partially right, and get a couple of extra grade points you wouldn’t have got if you’d put nothing down. Also, sometimes the mere act of writing can help recall material; once you get going, you might just realise that you’re triggering information you thought you didn’t know.