Examination Tips

General Exam Stress-Busting Tips:
  • Believe in yourself. You wouldn't have been given a place on the course if you didn't have the ability to do it. Therefore, if you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively.
  • Don't try to be perfect. It's great to succeed and reach for the stars. But keep things in balance. If you think that "anything less than A+ means I've failed" then you are creating mountains of unnecessary stress for yourself. Aim to do your best but recognise that none of us can be perfect all of the time.
  • Take steps to overcome problems. If you find you don't understand some of your course material, getting stressed out won't help. Instead, take action to address the problem directly by seeing your course tutor or getting help from your class mates.
  • Don't keep things bottled up. Confiding in someone you trust and who will be supportive is a great way of alleviating stress and worry.
  • Keep things in perspective. The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now, but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are only a small part.
    Tips for the revision period:
  • Leave plenty of time to revise so that you don't get into a situation of having to do last minute cramming. This approach will help to boost your confidence and reduce any pre-exam stress as you know you have prepared well.
  • Develop a timetable so that you can track and monitor your progress. Make sure you allow time for fun and relaxation so that you avoid burning out.
  • As soon as you notice your mind is losing concentration, take a short break. You will then come back to your revision refreshed.
  • Experiment with several alternative revision techniques so that revision is more fun and your motivation to study is high.
  • Don't drink too much coffee, tea and fizzy drinks; the caffeine will 'hype' you and make your thinking less clear. Eat healthily and regularly; your brain will benefit from the nutrients.
  • Regular moderate exercise will boost your energy, clear your mind and reduce any feelings of stress.
  • Try out some yoga, tai chi or relaxation techniques. They will help to keep you feeling calm and balanced, improve your concentration levels and help you to sleep better.
    Tips for the exam itself:
  • Avoid panic. It's natural to feel some exam nerves prior to starting the exam, but getting excessively nervous is counterproductive as you will not be able to think as clearly.
  • The quickest and most effective way of eliminating feelings of stress and panic is to close your eyes and take several long, slow deep breaths. Breathing in this way calms your whole nervous system. Simultaneously you could give yourself some mental pep-talk by mentally repeating "I am calm and relaxed" or "I know I will do fine".
  • If your mind goes blank, don't panic! Panicking will just make it harder to recall information. Instead, focus on slow, deep breathing for about one minute. If you still can't remember the information then move on to another question and return to this question later.
  • After the exam don't spend endless time criticising yourself for where you think you went wrong. Often our own self assessment is far too harsh. Congratulate yourself for the things you did right, learn from the bits where you know you could have done better, and then move on.
    Jocelyn Peterson's Tips

    Before the exam:
  • Encourage children to believe in themselves
  • Explain to the child that success at exams opens doors of opportunities but do not reflect a true and balanced description of their strengths and weakness
  • Avoid comparing their child with other children as this lowers their self-esteem
  • Be stern with your child, but do not exert too much pressure if you feel that the child is not adequately prepared for the exams.

    After the exam:
  • Prepare your child for insensitive questions or uncaring remarks that may come from adults when the SEA results are out. Let your child know that he is under no obligation to give information he is not comfortable with it
  • Parents must continue to give support and believe in their child even when they are disappointed with the results
  • Negative statements at this time can cause emotional damage and scar young minds
  • Negative statements coming from either teachers or parents could destroy any glimmer of hope that the child may have for success in future examinations
  • Parents must be realistic about their expectations, which must be based on the child's past and present performance
  • It is extremely important to continue building your child's self-esteem after the exam
    Anna Maria Mora's Tips

    The day before the exam:
  • Both parent and child should remain calm.
  • Parents should not place pressure on the child at last minute.
  • Put the books and pencils down and relax. Spend time with the child and do things that the child likes, for example, take a walk, play a game or cook the child's favourite meal.
  • Reassure him that things would be all right, no matter what the results are.

    The day of the exam:
  • Parents should not wait at the child's school. This gets the child nervous and stressed.
  • Parents should not call on their child's cell phone asking them questions about the exam.
  • Both parent and child should avoid becoming nervous.
  • Children must understand that "this too shall pass;" it is just one step that they must take.

    After the exam:
  • Parents should learn relaxation techniques.
  • Parents should take time off from their busy schedules and spend with their children.
  • Parents should encourage their children in extra-curricular activities, not only academics, to help them to relax their minds and bodies.
  • Parents should remember to praise their children no matter what the results are and where they are placed. Remind them that they still have their support and love.
  • After the exam, children should spend a few quite minutes, saying to themselves, "I am loveable and capable. No matter what my parents are doing to me, I am okay, I'll be all right."
  • Children must not compare answers after they have left the exam room. This can become stressful.
    Source 1:
    International Stress Management Association(ISMA)
    By Dr Dawn Hamiltion

    Source 2:
    By Avalene Harris
    Trinidad Guardian, March 15, 2005

    Just rewards await says Education Minister (edited)
    Trinidad Guardian, Tuesday 27th March, 2007

    Exam Tips

    1. Have a light breakfast: sandwiches, cereal or fruit (do not eat or drink unfamiliar things that morning).
    2. Donít drink too much liquid (to avoid unnecessary visits to the washroom).
    3. Before you leave home ensure you have all necessary stationeryópencils, erasers, sharpener, and most importantly your exam slip.
    4. Get to your examination centre at least 30 minutes before your exam begins. This gives you enough time to relax yourself and settle into your seat.
    5. If you are unfamiliar with the exam centre, take a the room to avoid getting distracted during the exam.
    6. Pray, stay calm and remain focused.
    7. Even if you donít have the urgent need to, try and go to the washroom before each exam.
    8. Listen to the invigilator carefully.
    9. Read the instructions on your exam paper and if you are unsure about anything, donít hesitate to ask the invigilator (thatís why they are there).
    10. Donít waste time. If you get stuck on a question because it seems difficult or confusing, move on to the next and return to the tough questions after.
    11. Donít panic. If you feel yourself sweating or hyperventilating, put down your pencil, close your eyes, take deep breaths, pray and consciously relax. When calmer, go back to work.
    12. If you feel uncontrollably ill during the exam notify the invigilator.
    13. Use extra time to review your solutions.
    14. Most importantly, remain positive.

    REMEMBER: Examinations are not the be-all-and-end-all of your life, they are just one aspect of your life as a student.

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