Getting it right on exam day

So itís exam day Ė think youíve done all you can? Well, how you deal with exam day itself can make a big difference to the outcome.

Students reading past paper

Turn up on time

Flapping wonít help you focus so make sure you know in advance exactly where and when your exam is taking place. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there, with a pen (plus a spare) and start as you mean to go on Ė calm and full of concentration.

The big brain breakfast

Tempted to skip breakfast? Well, research shows that eating a health breakfast of whole grains, fruit and even limited amounts of coffee can help to improve short-term memory and concentration. Plus thereís nothing like a rumbling tum to distract you.

Read questions carefully

When the exam starts, take some deep breaths, read all questions through thoroughly - then re-read them again!  One of the biggest mistake students can make is failing to read the question properly and misunderstanding what is being asked.

Which question?

You donít always need to work through the questions in order Ė starting with the easiest will help boost your confidence.  If you are stuck at any question, then donít waste too much time stressing over it Ė come back to it later. Fresh eyes can often work wonders.

Take time over your answers

Avoid a muddle of scored-out scribblings by taking time to plan your answer. Work out the key points and think about exactly what you need to include in your answer. It might help to make a list of the important points, ticking them off as you go along.

Note the marks

Pay attention to the number of marks that each question is worth. Take this as a measure of importance and of how much work is needed in the answer.  If time is running out, try to tackle the higher scoring questions first to maximise your overall score.

Check your answers

Check over all questions for incomplete work and anything that has been missed. Try to also look at ways to improve your answers or find ways to add possible marks to them. A rule of thumb is to allow 20 minutes in a two hour exam.

Comparing notes

Itís only natural to want to discuss questions and answers with friends but try to keep it in perspective - itís not a competition and donít panic if answers differ.  Remember exams may be important at the time but they are only a small part of life.