MHAW - Exam stress: what to do at the last minuteWatch
- Re-revise: Like most people, I admittedly do quite a bit of revision the night before an exam, and I think it can work. However, leaving new content until the night before isn’t a good idea unless it’s something you can absorb quickly (like vocabulary). Instead of trying to cram in new information as quickly as you can and stressing yourself out, use the night before to tune your brain to the type of skills you’ll be using in the exam: write some essay plans, practise some questions, do a past paper and consolidate your knowledge. This will help you feel more prepared.
- Get organised: Another thing I like to do the night before an exam is make sure I have a good plan for what I’m going to do when the exam is over. Feeling like you have a plan and you know what you’re doing generally helps with stress, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed the night before an exam, it might help you to make sure that all your notes are in order and plan out the revision you’re going to do once it’s over. Organisation can be very calming.
- Don’t work too much: Exhausting yourself before an exam won’t do you any favours. Although consolidating what you know is useful, it’s important to set yourself a time limit or a limited number of essays to plan/past papers to do etc. so that you do the optimum amount of work and retain as much as possible. This is also worth doing because in order for your brain to function at its best, you’ll need a good night’s sleep, which you can make sure that you get if you stop revising at a planned time and give yourself some time to unwind before bed.
The morning of the exam
- Self-care: Feeling groggy or hungry in the exam won’t be helpful, so take the time to ensure that all your needs are satisfied and you can focus your full attention on the exam. Breakfast, a refreshing shower and a chat with friends or some other activity that you enjoy before the exam can work wonders for your mood and energy levels, which will help you feel less stressed. Listening to some music which calms you down (or alternatively, gets you pumped up for the exam) is also really helpful. This is one of my personal favourites, and you can share yours here
- A bit of stress is good: Don’t aim to have absolutely no stress; a little stress can be helpful and encouraging, provided you use it in a positive way rather than thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong and getting yourself down. If you’re feeling apprehensive about your exam, channel that feeling into your determination to do well, and use the adrenaline to motivate yourself.
- Last-minute revision? I don’t usually bother revising on the morning of a test; I used to try, but then realised it was just stressing me out more. I think time on the morning of an exam is better-spent doing something you enjoy to get you into a positive mindset (unless your exam is in the afternoon of course!). The exception is vocab; you can always revise that at the last minute. That activity that you enjoy could be literally anything, but you should find what works for you. For example, I like socialising before an exam, but you might find that that stresses you out and so something quieter is better. It’s totally up to you!
Hopefully this has been helpful! Good luck with your exams
I wrote my list and then just half an hour before the exam, I'd read through my list a few times so I didn't drop marks on these little mistakes.