Education experts from the leading learning platform, @Quizlet share tips and insights to combat last-minute exam anxiety.
Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy… yep it is the morning of your exam and suddenly your mind has gone blank. Everything you have learnt over the last year has gone and all the revision in the world can’t bring it back. In a recent survey of students, we found that exams and end-of-semester grades are some of the top sources of stress impacting student mental health and wellbeing. But fear not, there are a few hacks to beat exam anxiety and walk in feeling confident.
Keep it light on the morning of your exam. While it may feel sensible to eat a lot to prepare, it is proven that eating a big meal can often leave people feeling sluggish and drowsy. This is because oxygen-rich blood is helping to digest the food. Instead of eating a big meal as part of your prep, have a light snack such as fruit or a protein bar and take a walk or do some light exercise to get that blood moving through your whole body to get you feeling energised.
Dress for Success
Thomas Edison once said, “opportunity is missed by most people because it was dressed in overalls and looks like work.” While it may seem pointless to dress up for an exam, research has shown that there are links between dressing well and feeling happier. Wearing your favourite colour, a soft warm texture that makes you feel comfortable, or even a lucky item of clothing could boost the feel-good endorphin, dopamine, meaning you will walk into your exam not only feeling happier and more confident, but you’ll look good doing it.
Take a Break
While it may feel sensible to spend the final hours before an exam cramming, or even pull an all-nighter, it is important to take proper breaks. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before your exam will mean you go into that examination hall with a clear head and feeling rested. While revising, taking regular breaks can also help you to absorb information better. Leaving your revision area, taking a small walk, practising breathing exercises and even meditating can all help to keep you calm, allowing the brain to reabsorb and process materials properly.
While at college and uni, you will be learning essential materials from day one. Starting early with revision, by creating summarised flashcards on apps like Quizlet and Evernote can be a great resource later down the line, as well as teaching yourself the discipline of reflection throughout the academic year. These can then be re-visited and re-used ahead of exams.
Work on Memory Skills
Everyone works differently so it is firstly important to know what works best with your learning technique. Whether it is recalling information out loud, making flashcards, doing past papers, or physically writing the information down – developing the right learning techniques early is essential for success. Finding what works for you and using it to create your own data retrieval system will enable you to hit the revision with a running start, bossing each exam as it comes.
Learn Test-Taking Skills
Doing past papers can be a great way to perfect the technique of answering exam questions exactly how they need to be done to achieve the highest marks. Multiple choice, essay questions, short answer questions, and oral exams all require answers and information to be given in different ways. While some lecturers will be able to supply past papers, digital tools like Quizlet can also give access to past exam materials. Perfecting exam techniques mean you’ll enter each exam with a proper plan of action boosting confidence when it comes to structuring answers.
Don’t Grade Yourself
Ignore the temptation to grade yourself on averages or be driven by predicted grades. You will achieve the top marks with hard work, determination, and knowledge. Getting the right study tricks down will help to build the essentials and give you the confidence to achieve top marks.