Feeling a little nervous before an exam is a good thing — it shows that the exam matters to you. However, too much anxiety can make it difficult to focus and could even hurt your performance. To tackle your exam with confidence, there are a few things you need to do to make exam day stress free.
1. Use Effective Study Practices
The best way to feel prepared for an exam is to use your study time effectively. Avoid passive activities like rereading materials. Instead, create mind maps, rewrite your notes, and practice answering questions like those you’ll encounter on the exam.
2. Take Care of Your Health
You need to be well rested and energized on the day of your exam. As well as making sure you sleep enough the night before, eat a nutritious meal in the morning to avoid feeling hungry. You should also focus on your health during the weeks leading up to your exam. For instance, you could use breaks to exercise or do some stretches. You may also like to keep a bottle of water on your desk (and perhaps also some healthy snacks).
3. Learn Mindfulness Techniques
If you ever feel yourself becoming stressed, use mindfulness techniques to relax. Try deep breathing exercises, positive thinking, and closing your eyes for a few seconds before the exam starts.
4. Focus on Your Strengths
Instead of dwelling on where you still have gaps in your knowledge, focus on what you do know. For example, it may be worth running through the key facts you’ve learned one last time. If you feel capable when you sit down to do your exam, you increase your chances of being able to recall information.
5. Approach the Exam Strategically
Exam questions can often contribute to stress, especially if they’re long or complicated. Rather than rushing into your answer, take your time to figure out what the question is asking, such as by underlining keywords. You could also jot down ideas for your answers before you start writing.
Depending on how much time you have and the type of exam, you may like to read all the questions before you start answering anything. You can then decide which questions to answer first. Beginning with questions that have an obvious answer can build up your confidence. You may like to then move onto the questions that are worth the most points, especially if you’re unsure you’ll be able to finish everything. Keep checking the clock as you work through your exam. If you’re struggling with a particular question, it may be worth leaving it and coming back at the end, if you have time.
6. Ignore Other Thoughts
Don’t allow your mind to wander during the exam. You may be tempted to look around the room, or you may start thinking about the implications of doing poorly. To avoid becoming stressed, push these thoughts away and focus purely on the exam.
How you spend your time leading up to the exam can make a big difference to your level of stress. It’s key to have somewhere quiet where you can study on a daily basis — it’s best of all if this place is at home. THEO offers uOttawa off-campus housing designed to improve the student experience. In addition to the desk in your shared or private bedroom or solo apartment, you can use any of our 12 study rooms. Contact us now to secure your spot.