Be Prepared, NOT Scared: Exam advice for before and the during exams

Written Experiment IconBy Sabrina Rahman, Law 

As students, the guilt of partying, catching up with friends and sleeping in late will hit us with a vengeance with the realisation that the dreaded exams are upon us.

It is therefore important that, when the exams do hit, you're effective at managing your time. It is equally important that you engage in relaxing activities and stay healthy in order to prevent yourself suffering with stress and anxiety.

Before the exam

In order to prevent yourself from hyperventilating at the sight of intimidatingly large textbooks, use the lecture slides as a guide for which subjects to what to read up on. Not only does this save you time, eliminating the information that is perhaps not so relevant to the course, but it helps highlight any weaknesses in your knowledge that you need to brush up on.

In order to feel mentally equipped for the exams, it is important that, after learning the relevant information, you attempt past papers and practice tests. This will be the true indication of where you stand in terms of knowledge - it will help you recognise the areas you need to work on, as well as giving you confidence in your strengths.

Doing practise papers also helps you devise a strategy as to how much time to give yourself for each question in the real exam. Ensure you do the practice papers relatively far in advance in order to give yourself time to improve.

Whilst it's tempting to simply highlight information in your notes and read it over and over, this is not the most effective form of revision. A far better method is to test yourself by making flashcards containing information you do not want to forget, such as relevant cases, formulae, literary criticism, dates, etc. You can then ask a friend doing the same exams as you to test you using the flashcards, mutually benefiting both of you. You can also try writing the key information from your notes as mind-maps and sticking them up around your bedroom.

Finally, adopt a variety of different revision techniques in a realistic revision timetable. Always allow yourself to have occasional breaks, time for your favourite television programme and speaking to your friends (though not about revision!).

The day before the exam

Do not do any strenuous testing as you will find this may contribute or enhance any anxiety - simply re-read bullet points, essays and summon those flashcards. For some, even the use of WhatsApp and other social media can be an effective yet less intense way of reaffirming knowledge.

Although this may sound unreasonable given the stress of the imminent exam, try and get a decent night's sleep before. Wind down with a mug of hot chocolate, watch a film or listen to relaxing music.

During the exam

Before you enter the exam, ensure you have your U-Card as this can save hassle and added stress.

Always make sure you've checked the length of your exam and give yourself enough time to answer all the questions. Read the exam paper in full before you start, highlighting relevant parts of the questions and even annotating passages to ensure you fully understand what is being asked of you.

Although you may be exasperated to read this, if you have time at the end, go back to check your work to avoid silly mistakes, correct any grammar or to add something new.

After the exams are over, avoid talking about it and instead enjoy the wonderful, relaxing life you had before they started!