Skills Centre

Preparing for the Day of Your Exam

Find our top tips for succeeding on the day of your examination. Here are some Do’s and Don’t for preparing for the day of your exam. 

Remember to also read our guide to ‘Never Resit an Exam Again‘.

Exam Tip 1

Get enough sleep the night before the exam. If you are dull-headed because of a lack of sleep, you will not be able to perform at your best. Wake up early so that you do not need to rush through having breakfast and getting ready.

Exam Tip 2

Check the venue and time of the exam to make sure that you have not confused the day/time/venue and get materials ready the night before the exam, so you have time to locate or even purchase any misplaced or lost items.

Exam Tip 3

Have a balanced breakfast. Eat moderately before your exams; avoid heavy meals. Bananas are always a good option. If you eat too much, your brain will have to devote energy to the process of digestion. On the other hand, if you skip a meal altogether, your brain will have inadequate fuel to function well.

Exam Tip 4

Before leaving home, check that you have everything that you will need such as Student ID card, stationery, map to the exam venue, etc.

Exam Tip 5

Head to the exam with plenty of time. A lot of unexpected events can happen on your way there and you do not want to be late! Allow for traffic, check the weather reports, or even travel to an external exam location in advance to get an idea of how long it will take you to travel there.

Exam Tip 6

If there are people around who are panicking, try to avoid them. They are not doing you any favours! It is preferable to stay confident and focused on doing well in the exam.

Exam Tip 7

Go to the toilet before the exam starts. Exams can be quite long and there is no time to waste. Avoid drinking diuretics that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea or cola before the examination, which could make you need to use the toilet more often.

Exam Tip 8

Remember to check you have the correct exam paper. Papers will have your name and student number printed on them, make sure you have been given the correct paper. Do not change the front page of the paper, this will mean the paper is deemed void and will not be marked. Make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Exam Tip 9

Read all the questions carefully before starting and really read what you are being asked to do on each question. Then quickly plan how much time to allocate to each.

Exam Tip 10

Start answering the questions that you feel most confident about. There is no need to answer the questions in order.

Exam Tip 11

If your brain freezes, just start writing anything and you will soon start remembering more details.

Exam Tip 12

Don’t spend more time than you planned on a particular section/question or you might run out of time to answer other questions and gain those extra marks. Also, leave any questions that you are unsure about for the end.

Exam Tip 13

Stay for the full length of the exam. Even if you feel you cannot recall any more, by relaxing or waiting in the exam hall, information and details might come to mind and enable you to gain additional marks, in exams, every mark counts. Use every minute of the exam and if you have time left, review your answers before handing back the paper.

 Exam Tip 14

Don’t look around at how other students are doing. It may appear that you’re trying to copy and it will just distract you from your main task which is to do as well as possible in your exams.

Exam Tip 15

Stay calm, you have done your homework and have nothing to fear! This is your time to apply all the knowledge you have learnt during your studies. 

Believe in yourself.