EXAM day has come and you know you have prepared adequately, but you may still be anxious to actually take the exam. Don’t be embarrassed. Many students feel stressed, nervous and worried when they have to demonstrate what they’ve learned through an exam. The following tips will guide you through exam day.
Preparation for exam day
Preparation for exam day
- Avoid cramming the night before. You will retain more both on test day and afterwards for comprehensive exams if you study regularly and at a reasonable pace. While a brief review will help, avoid an exhaustive cramming session;
- prepare your equipment. You should have two or three pens or pencils with good erasers, as well as books, note cards, or “cheat sheets” your instructor permits. If you are taking a math or science test, bring a calculator with good batteries;
- be physically ready. Your previous preparation can go to waste if you don’t get a good night’s sleep before test day. You should also eat a healthy meal and be well hydrated before the exam begins; and,
- Find out as much as you can about the exam before it begins. Find out details about the format of the test. Ask your professor if you will have to write any essays. If essays are your weak point, research potential essay topics and create an outline in order to save time for other sections of the test.
- Read the test directions closely. If you have questions, ask your instructor to clarify the matter, either to you personally or to the entire class.
Don’t be embarrassed: your fellow students will likely have the same questions;
- remember to breathe. If you feel yourself panicking or stressing out, put down your pencil and take several long, deep breaths;
- survey the test before beginning. Glance over the entire test and form a loose plan for how you will spend your time. You do not need to closely inspect every question, but your plan may be very different for a test with 15 multiple-choice questions and six essay questions than for one with 90 multiple-choice questions;
- read every question closely. Sometimes teachers will write questions that are deliberately reversed from what you might expect in order to challenge you. If you feel that a question is nonsensical, hard to understand, or contains typos, ask your instructor for clarification; misprints and editing accidents can happen;
- strategise for multiple-choice and true/false questions. Read the question thoroughly, and if it helps, solve the problem on scratch paper. If the answer is not immediately clear, you may wish to skip it for the moment and solve problems that you know you can handle quickly. For multiple-choice questions, rule out as many options as you can, and make an educated guess;
- look for key words in essay questions. Read the question thoroughly and be sure you understand the specific topic, as well as what you are supposed to “do” with your essay. Keywords include “define,” “explain,” and “compare.” Prepare a short outline on scratch paper to organise your thoughts, and consider the time you have; and,
- Don’t get distracted by other students taking the test. If they are being disruptive, ask them to be quiet or inform the instructor. Avoid looking toward their papers. Don’t feel pressured if other students complete the test quickly and leave early; some students take tests very quickly, and this has little bearing on their actual performance on those tests.
- Once you have completed your test and double-checked it for mistakes, try not to dwell on how it went. Even if you felt you did poorly, it is now beyond your control;
- if you receive your test paper back, look at where you made mistakes to determine your strengths and weaknesses for future attempts; and,
- If your instructor has a test-review session, don’t skip it. Reviewing the material will help you learn and will enhance your performance on future tests. The National