Five Tips for Exam Day


Quote the Raven: Brendan
Communication and Media Studies


With exams vastly approaching and the fall semester coming to an end, it’s normal for students to start feeling stressed and anxious about final exams. Even though many of you have been studying and feel prepared for your finals, there is still sometimes no escaping that final wave of stress that shadows over you on the night before and day of your exams. To help avoid that last-minute panic here are five tips that will help you on exam day.

Tip #1: Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

Tip number one is arguably the one that most students forget about but serves as the most important. Sleep is vital for your memory, which is why it is very important not to stay up all night cramming a semester’s worth of material into your brain the night before the exam. A good night’s sleep will help your brain consolidate what it learned during the day and help boost your overall performance. So, learn the course material first then sleep on it, you will remember those lecture slides you’re trying to memorize much better than if you pull an all-nighter and show up to the exam both mentally and physically drained.

Tip #2: Eat a Healthy Breakfast!

Eating a healthy breakfast will benefit you on exam day in a number of different ways! For starters, there is nothing more distracting than the sound of your own stomach growling while trying to focus on writing your exam, so be sure to get up early and prepare yourself for the day with a well-balanced breakfast. Try rich and protein-based foods such as eggs, yogurt, whole-wheat cereal and/or oatmeal. These foods are known as brain-boosting foods and are great to eat on exam day as they lead to greater mental alertness and can help you focus better.

Tip #3: Be Sure to Arrive to Carleton Early!

This tip is more specifically aimed at off-campus students however, please note that arriving on time for an exam is still just as important for on-campus students. Making sure you arrive to Carleton early will help you avoid the last-minute stress of rushing to make it to your exam on time. Do so, by planning your commute to Carleton the night before. Whether it be getting a drive from a friend or family member or using OC Transpo services, weather delays are common and must be taken into consideration. In order to avoid the unwanted stress delay can potentially bring to the commute, it is suggested that you arrive to Carleton at least 45 minutes to an hour before your exam time that way you have time to sit down, do a quick revision and prepare for your exam.

Tip #4: Come Prepared!

Coming to your exam prepared is the number one factor that will relieve exam day stress. Feeling prepared means you have studied the course material effectively and have gained a thorough understanding of course concepts. When studying, it is important to set study goals in order to maintain focus and be fully prepared, do so by breaking up your study sessions by setting goals each half hour of studying. Study goals may include reading through lecture notes, understanding a certain concept or chapter, etc. That being said, studying is not the only way you have to prepare for exam day. Being prepared means coming to your exam ready to write and with the required tools in order to do so, such as your student ID, pencils and erasers.

Tip #5: Stay Calm and Use Your Time Efficiently!

The fifth and final tip for exam day is to stay calm and use your time efficiently when writing your exam. Exams can be stressful and it’s very normal for students to be nervous when the time comes to write. In order to ensure you perform to the best of your abilities you must remain calm. Helpful tips that will allow you to not waste any time during your exam is to, firstly, read all of the questions before starting and quickly plan out how much time you wish to spend on each of them. Next start by answering the questions that you feel most confident about and if your brain freezes and you are stuck on a question, skip it and come back to it, you will most likely remember it later. Lastly, try to use every minute of the exam remaining to review your answers, this gives you the opportunity to be sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. Again, remember to stay calm since you have studied, you are ready and have nothing to fear!

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