1. The night before: go to bed half an hour earlier than usual to wind yourself down ready for a good night’s sleep.
2. In the morning: eat a high protein and complex carbohydrate breakfast. It will release energy slowly through the day, keeping you alert for your exam.
3. Write a list of anything you wish to take with you to the exam in advance. Forgetting even a small thing, such a pre-exam snack, could throw you off course and add to feelings of nerves.
4. Arrive early to your exam venue and don’t speak about the exam topics with your peers. Last -minute discussions about which topics everyone has focused on won’t help and may panic you.
5. Accept those butterflies in your stomach before the exam! Those feelings of nerves are increasing your heart rate, delivering more oxygen to your brain and keeping you alert.
6. When the examiner announces the start there will be a frantic rustling of papers. Don’t dive in with everyone else: wait for the commotion to die down and then calmly turn over your paper. When you see the questions for the first time, you’ll be quiet and focused instead of panicky.
7. Once you’ve warmed up your brain with a few of the easier questions, consider going to the end of the paper and working backwards. Doing the harder questions first, when your brain is fresher, may result in fewer careless mistakes.
8. An old but important favourite: check how many marks are assigned to each question and spend your time accordingly! If it’s a 60-minute exam with 60 marks, you can spend 1 minute on each mark.
9. Jot down any vital equations, facts, quotes or dates at the start while your brain is fresh. As you get more tired you can refer back to them. Anything that takes less than a minute to put down is worth it. Don’t spend too much time though – they might not come up.
10. Don’t waste your energy and confidence on a question that feels insurmountable. Circle it and come back to it later. You might figure it out while filling in the rest of your paper; or a later question may even remind you of the answer.