How to stay calm during exams

There’s no doubt that exams can be scary and can make the best of revisers anxious, but here are a few ways to keep those exam nerves at bay...

1. Prepare in Advance

If you want to avoid feeling anxious in the exam hall, you want to start preparing for each exam well in advance. The last thing you want to do is start cramming last-minute as this will only get you more worked up and panicked.

2. Sleep Well

There’s little point in pulling an all-nighter before an exam as this will only make you exhausted and could have a negative influence on your performance. It’s hard to focus on your exam if you’re trying hard to stay awake!

3. Healthy Eating

It’s important that you eat well before your exam. A nutritious breakfast or lunch will set you in good stead for your morning or afternoon exam. Be careful not to overeat as this will make you feel tired. Likewise with not eating anything at all; even if your appetite isn’t there, it will come back to haunt you at some point in the exam – rumbling tummy, anyone?

4. Give Yourself A Break

Don’t be revising up to the minute before the exam. Leave the last hour to relax and get yourself ready for the exam. Another positive idea to get yourself relaxed on the day of the exam is to do a bit of light exercise – we’re not saying go off and do a couple of hours in the gym before your morning exam, but a short walk or jog will give you some fresh air and really up your concentration.

5. Allow Yourself Plenty Of Time

Firstly, you should know the exact time and place for the exam in advance, otherwise that could cause unnecessary stress by the time the day comes round! Secondly, allow yourself plenty of time to get there, even if you do know exactly where it is. This way you can have a little sit down and prepare yourself before going into the exam room.

6. Read Every Question First

As soon as you are allowed to open it, you should read through your exam paper fully before writing anything down. If it helps, jot down notes (and cross them out afterwards!) at the top of your page or around the paper. Plan your approach and it will help you feel a lot more chilled about the exam and your time management.

7. Don't Compare

Looking to your left, your classmate is half way through her third page and you’re only on your first, and looking to your right, you see someone who’s clearly on their second question. The result? You spending more time worrying what they’re writing than actually writing yourself. Don’t start comparing yourself to other people around you – in fact, don’t look around you like that. Pay attention to what you’re doing, and what you’re doing only!

8. Keep Track Of Time

In your revision and exam practices, you probably got an idea of how long you should spend on each question – don’t forget it! Make sure you set aside time for your answers as well as proofreading, and keep an eye on the time by bringing your own watch.

9. Relax

Don’t let the exam and the timed conditions get the better of you. You shouldn’t be afraid to take a few minutes to sit back and breath, maybe have a read through what you’ve just written. You won’t be writing your best if you don’t have a clear head after all.

Exams time is a great source of stress for many students. Don’t let the pressure get to you; follow our top tips for keeping a cool head and getting through the exam period with ease.