Exam season is nearly upon us and there can be a lot riding on the results. Your exam period can therefore be a stressful and overwhelming time, whether its university entry requirements, sixth form places, or job prospects that you’re working towards.
The pressure will be there whether you like it or not; it’s how you deal with it that will make the crucial difference. Read on for our tips on keeping your cool, so that you do yourself proud in the exam room this summer.
1) Focus on the task at hand
Sometimes when you’re revising, reminding yourself of what you’re aiming for can help you stay motivated; but when it comes to the actual exam, take this context out of your head and just focus on the task at hand.
The bigger picture - such as university plans, entry requirements, internships and career aspirations – might only freak you out, so as soon as you sit down just block all this noise out. It’s just you, your pen and your exam paper that matter for the duration of the exam, so stay focused and concentrate on doing what you’ve practiced.
2) Get to the heart of the matter
When it comes to exams, examiners are looking for depth and understanding rather than breadth and waffle, so show them that you know what you’re talking about.
Sometimes, when you’re sat in the exam and the clock is ticking, it’s tempting to second guess yourself, and just put down as much information as you possibly can because something you’ve written might hit the jackpot. But don’t be afraid to take a minute, think for a little bit, plan your answer and choose the information you want to write down carefully.
A considered, well thought through, detailed and in-depth answer will look far more impressive than a panicked and top-line response to a question that wanted candidates to go a little bit deeper. Don’t let the pressure of the exam stop you from doing yourself justice!
3) Be methodical
When you sit down in your exam the adrenaline will probably start pumping, and this can make you speed up slightly. Speed is helpful but you don’t want to rush through the questions – stick to your timings and be methodical about your work.
Being consciously systematic and staying relaxed will ensure you’re thinking clearly about what you’re putting down, so you’ll make less mistakes and there won’t be loads to come back to and add or change at the end. Working steadily and breathing deeply will keep you calm, and will stop you from panicking should you encounter a difficult question. Stick to the game plan!