Sweaty palms, a quickening heartbeat, panic setting in?
If you prepare well for an exam, you can avoid all of these. The secret is studying effectively and consistently over a course of time (not just cramming at the last minute!)
Below are some studying tips that will help to get you prepared for the exam.
Make a plan
Make sure you know what you need to cover in your study session and make a plan to achieve that. Map out the months, weeks and days prior to the exam and create a timetable of study sessions that are small, discrete and achievable.
Incorporate a few blank study periods that you can fill in later as the exam approaches with whatever you feel you need to do more study on. This is just allowing a little contingency in your plan!
Reward yourself for reaching the goals of meeting your study plan! (Allow yourself to watch a favorite TV programme, have one of your favorite snacks, etc)
Get the logistics right
Make sure you have everything you need for the study session. This includes all books, notes, highlighters, pens, a dictaphone (if you plan to use one), perhaps a whiteboard, a clock and some snacks and drinks.
Make sure the room where you plan to study is comfortable and well ventilated.
Turn off social media feeds and your phone (no distractions!).
Use all the channels!
Traditional studying meant reading through text books and reams of study notes, trying to memorise everything. But this is only using one channel - information is going in to your brain via your eyes only.
Try using your ears! To use your ears, read aloud, listen to audio book versions of plays and novels (if that's what you are studying), watch (and listen to) documentaries on your subject, read out lists into a dictaphone and listen back to them.
Use your sense of touch! Create mind maps and write out lists and notes. The actual action of writing the words is using yet another channel to get the information into your brain.
Take frequent breaks
Research shows us that people remember what they study at the beginning and at the end of a study session best. If someone calls out a list of words to you, you are likely to remember the first and last words more easily than those in between.
So, ensure that you have lots of starts and ends to your study sessions by incorporating frequent short breaks.
Vary how and where you study
If your circumstances allow, try studying one subject at a desk, another at the kitchen or dining room table, another in the living room, etc.
Recently during one period of study coming up to an important exam for my daughter, she took to sticking study notes to the outside of her shower, so she could study while in the shower!
On the day
Have a good nutritious breakfast. Be at the exam centre in plenty of time. Bring all the necessary equipment, pens, etc, and if permitted a drink or snack.
And finally, READ the questions on the paper CAREFULLY. Make sure you are answering the question you are actually being asked to answer.