Want to do well in your exams? Here’s some top tips on how to do your best on the big day.
The Night Before
Look over your notes, but not for too long. Get an early night; sitting up late cramming often makes things worse, and confuses your memory. If you can’t sleep, do something which you find relaxing such as reading, listening to soothing music, doing some relaxed breathing exercises.
Fresh air helps too; the exercise will reduce your stress levels.
At the start of the exam
Spend a few minutes reading the instructions and questions carefully. Make a rough plan of how long to spend on each section, and what you plan to cover, and stick to it. Start with the question you think you can answer best. Double check your answers at the end.
If you start to feel panicky, breathe slowly and deeply. If your mind goes blank, remember you probably know more than you think you do. Perhaps think about something else for a few moments to rest your brain, and then return to the question.
Securing extra marks
If it’s an essay paper, write a short essay plan (e.g. paragraph headings) and cross it out when you’ve finished. If you run out of time, leave the plan in your notes – you might get extra marks.
In language exams, try to use different forms of verbs and tenses to show the examiners how good you are.
In science and maths exams show all your working out – you could pick up a few extra points for using the correct method, even if your final answer is wrong.
When it’s all over
Don’t get sucked in to endless discussions about the exam with your friends. They always seem to know the best answer to question 9b, and it’s never the same as the one you had! You could end up worrying about it for weeks when you were right all along.
For more advice on exam stress, go to bbc.co.uk/bitesize, where there are also some short video clips “Don’t let the Fear, the Fog and the Cram Get to You”, or search BBC Advice factfiles.