Preparing for exams

Exam time is coming up, which means stress, frustration and fear of failure. Make sure you’ve studied and are ready to excel, and that you’re able to remain calm. Picture: Getty Images /iStockphoto
Exam time is coming up, which means stress, frustration and fear of failure. Make sure you’ve studied and are ready to excel, and that you’re able to remain calm. Picture: Getty Images /iStockphoto

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin

Never have these words been truer than when it comes to studying for a big test or an exam. Cut this article out and stick it to a wall, you will need it

Whether it’s a test or an exam, the most important thing you need to do is stay level-headed and relaxed.

Experts at The Independent Institute of Education Monash SA (IIE MSA) share some important dos and don’ts for preparation as you get ready for tests or exams.

Do start early. Don’t leave everything until the last minute. It is important to start preparing and revising your work well in advance.

Don’t leave your studying for the week before the exams begin – doing so will result in higher levels of stress that can easily be avoided.

Do create your own study schedule – don’t just wing it. This is a great way to help you stay organised. Check your exam timetable and then draw up a study schedule that will afford you enough time to get through all of your work before the exams officially start.

Don’t wake up every day and pick a random subject to study on that day. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure this way.

Do ask questions in class – don’t be scared of your own voice. Before your exams start, try to go through all your notes and the sections of your work that don’t make sense to you or that you still need clarity on. Take these questions with you to class and make sure you make time to talk to your teacher about the specific things you need to understand better.

Don’t keep quiet in class because you are shy or worried about sounding silly.

Do take breaks, but don’t take three-hour breaks. It is important to keep your brain focused on your work when you are studying, and the best way to do that is to take short breaks. Use this time productively – don’t watch TV, play games or spend time on social media. Rather, take a walk around the garden or the block, do some light stretches or play with your pet.

Don’t take advantage of your break – if it’s too long and drawn out, you’ll become even more reluctant to finish studying.

Do stay well rested and don’t stay up late. Exams are only for a short period during the year and even though we all enjoy staying up late, make sure you get plenty of rest before and during your exams. This will make you more alert for when you need to put pen to paper.

Don’t stay up all night cramming.

Don’t go out socialising or attend parties during this time because this will distract and drain you. There will be time to celebrate when you receive your results.

Do reward yourself by doing something fun on days or weekends when you don’t have to study. Go to a movie or to the park, and spend some quiet quality time with family and friends. It is important to reward yourself – this will make it easier to get through the dedicated study times that you have ahead of you.

IIE MSA is a brand of The Independent Institute of Education. The IIE is SA’s largest private higher education institution, and operates across 21 sites

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