With only a couple of days to go before the Christmas exams begin, there are very few students who will be impervious to nerves and who won’t be indulging in a little cramming. Neither of these are recipes for success, so what should you be doing this close to an exam?
1. Get enough sleep.
Your brain needs rest time to absorb what you have learned during the day; you need sleep so that you’re fighting fit on the day of the exam and ready to adapt what you know to fit the nuances of the question.
2. Eat properly.
You’ll help nobody if your blood sugar drops in the middle of the exam, causing you to have a blank or at worst, to faint. Make sure you’re eating both regularly and healthily.
3. Take notes from your notes.
If you are up to date on your notes, now is a good time to make record cards. Your aim should always be to condense what you have, so that one diagram or one mind-map will set off a string of associations in your mind enabling you to answer a question to the best of your ability.
4. Practise exam questions.
Past papers, sample papers from your teachers and old assessment tests are all useful when it comes to practising for the exam. Test yourself again on old topics and try to make up new questions based on the style of old tests.
5. Do chunks of work.
Rather than despairing at the thought of having to prepare, for example, the entire Spanish language, break the subject into edible chunks: 5-10 minutes a night is sufficient for younger students; for older students you should be doing a little longer. Look over old vocab; test yourself on verbs; take it topic by topic: today – vegetables; tomorrow – past tense verbs; the day after that – how to lay out a note or letter. Vary it so you’re not bored.
6. Think positive!
Do your best! Be pleased with what you do well and accept that you’re good at it; after the exams you can choose the next weak spot to work on, but for the moment go into every exam ready to give it everything.