No Worries!
what to do just before an exam

Picture a familiar scene: it’s the night before one of my biggest,
hardest exams. I feel tired, stressed, underprepared and scared. ‘I’m
definitely getting the lowest in the class,’ I think, ‘and my parents and
teachers are going to kill me. What can I do?!’ I can’t cope anymore and I
break down into tears.

But then I realise there is hope…
We all feel like I did sometimes. The trouble is no-one really tells us
what to do or how to cope the night before (or even in the morning before!) an
important exam. That’s just because there is no one way that works for
everyone. Like so much of revising, it’s up to us to find the best approach
that will help us. That can be so difficult, though!
We need to begin by making sure that we start our revision as soon as
possible. Even if we had the best memory in the world, would we really be able
to remember everything we learnt in every single lesson we ever had? Chances
are, probably not. Even Einstein revised to do his work! So we should just get
on with it.
If you feel like you have been regularly revising the main topics of
your subject for a couple of months then you should be well on your way to the
success you deserve. An important point about revision, however, is that we
always feel we could be doing more. This isn’t usually the case. We have busy
lives and the examiners are aware that we aren’t going to know it all –
otherwise what’d be the point of the test?
The key is to worry and stress as little as you can. Go to bed the night
before the exam believing that you know enough. There’s no point doing last
minute tests on yourself. Quite often you won’t be able to remember the basics
because the exam’s time, the equipment you need and the exam itself are all you
can think about. This is normal and should not cause you to panic. When you’re
in that exam hall, everything comes back into your mind because it becomes your
main focus. Have a look over the main things you need to know to make sure
they’re in your head but only do this if you know it won’t distress you.
Getting enough sleep the week before your exam is important but it is
crucial you get loads of sleep before the exam. Scientific studies have shown
that we remember much more when we are relaxed and fully rested compared with
when we are stressed and tired. So even if you are desperate to squeeze in that
final bit of revision, save it for the morning if you have time.
Lastly, remember that we shouldn’t care too much about what other people
think. Yes, it’s great when we do well in an exam and all our teachers and
family are proud of us and it is always great to know that we got the highest
mark in our class or school. But that is not why we learn. We learn to do the
best we can and be the best person we can be. If we’ve tried our hardest, we
shouldn’t worry about our results and what others might think. We shouldn’t
allow fear of others’ points of view take us over. The most important person’s
opinion is our own. If we think we’ve done as well as we could, that’s all that
So when it comes to the last minute preparations for an exam, just
remember that if we can conquer our worries and fears we will usually see how
irrelevant they are. This will help us sleep better, remember more and have the
confidence we deserve to have when entering that exam hall.


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