It’s completely normal to feel nervous in the days and weeks coming up to your exam. That being said, it’s important not to let the nerves take over or you could risk forgetting everything you've learned over the last few months. The best way to combat exam day nerves is to make sure you’re confident and fully prepared for exam day – both mentally and physically.
Here are our top tips on preparing yourself and beating the dreaded exam nerves.
In the weeks before the exam...
- This one goes without saying, but make sure you start your study early to give yourself enough time to cover the material. This will avoid the pre-exam cramming, which inevitably leads to stress and sleepless nights.
- Go to your lecture, which will take place a couple of months before your exam. This will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have and clarify any problem areas early on in the semester, avoiding any last-minute panic.
- Take breaks in your study for exercise or meeting with friends, and remember to eat healthily – you don’t want to be run down by the time exam day comes around.
- Work your way through all of the study supports available to you. You'll find them in the Member Area of www.iii.ie.
A few days before the exam...
- Make sure you know where you’re going. Look up your exam centre location and plan your route, including how long it might take to get there, so you don't have to think about this on exam day.
- Complete as many mock exams as you can in exam conditions to identify the areas you should focus on during your last precious revision days.
- Avoid late nights and drinking too much caffeine, or you'll have burned out by the time the exam comes around.
The night before the exam...
- Don't study or ‘cram’ the night before the exam. Take this time to relax so that you're mentally ready for the day ahead.
- Make sure you have everything you need for your exam including your exam permit, photo ID, pens, pencils, an eraser and a non-programmable calculator. These items won't be available at the exam centre, so bring spares if you think you'll need them.
- Go to bed early and try to get a good night’s sleep. You'll need all your energy for your exam.
On the day of the exam...
- Eat a good breakfast, even if you don't feel like it – your brain will need fuel to keep going through the exam.
- Arrive early at the exam centre to give yourself enough time to find your seat and adjust to your surroundings.
- Ignore the other students around you and just focus on your own paper.
- Before beginning, remember to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself.
- Read through the exam paper and don’t panic. Mark the questions that you’re sure of and answer them first, then come back to the ones you’re unsure of.
- If you’re sitting a multiple-choice question exam, remember to mark option ‘E’ (unanswered) for the questions you don’t know, as negative marking is in place and you'll lose marks for giving a wrong answer.
- Finally, remember that you’ve worked hard and you know more than you think – so do your best, take your time and read the questions carefully.