Things to do just before an exam

Simple steps to reduce your stress before a big test

Alarm clock phone and notebook

The exam season is finally here! All your revision is finally going to be tested in the next two months. Soon you’ll be able to spend all summer hanging out with mates, relaxing on a beach somewhere. . . But not quite yet. 

First, you have to jump the final hurdle and ace those exams. Follow our simple guide to the night and morning before an exam to make sure nothing goes wrong. 

Check the date, time and location of your exam

Check, check and double check. Then write it down, and check again. 

If the exam is taking place at your school, college, or university, make sure you know exactly which room or hall it’s in, and exactly how to get there. If it’s in a different location, make sure you look the place up on google maps and plan your route there so you don’t get lost on the way, including looking at any buses or trains you might have to catch to get there. 

It might be helpful to make an exam timetable, or note down when and where your exams are on a calendar to familiarise yourself with the dates of each one. 

Pack everything you need the night before

Make sure you have everything you need so you can focus on your exam in the morning, and you don’t have to waste time rushing around trying to find your calculator. It might be useful to make yourself a checklist of items you need to take to each exam – mathematical equipment for your maths exam, or your books and poetry anthologies for your English exam. 

You might also need your candidate number or centre number, so check this with your school, college or university before you go. 

Have a good breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day! 

Try and eat something healthy that will release energy throughout the day, such as whole grain cereal, porridge, or avocado on toast. Fruit is also considered a great brain fuel, so make sure to top off your breakfast with a banana. 

Get a good night's sleep

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is more important than trying to stay up all night revising! Try and aim to get at least 8 hours sleep, and spend an hour before bed winding down and relaxing. If you have trouble getting to sleep, especially if you’re nervous or stressed, even just resting in a darkened room will help you feel rested and alert the next morning. 

More on TSR: 
Five ways to beat exam panic 
Could cramming work for you? 
How to stop worrying about uni stuff during exams

Take a bottle of water with label removed

Being dehydrated can make you feel tired, anxious and unproductive, so make sure you take a big bottle of water with you to your exam. 


Keep hydrated

Leave with plenty of time

Aim to arrive at the location of your exam at least 20 minutes before the exam actually starts. This way you can relax a little when you get there, and it also allows wriggle room for your bus to be late and for you to still make it on time. 

Last minute revision

This one is up to you and how you feel about learning. It might be your style to flick through your flash cards over breakfast or glance at a mind-map before you go into your exam, or it might not be. If you do decide to go over your notes, make sure its stuff you’ve already been revising – it isn’t recommended that you start trying to learn a whole topic from scratch just half an hour before your exam starts. 

What tips do you have for before an exam? Do you cram or relax?

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