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Tips on how to ace an Exam (What to do and What not to do)

Updated on March 25, 2012

Many students are burning the midnight oil for their finals in May. Graduating students are busy preparing for their SAT. Not all people are good test-takers, including this author. Personally, I don't resort to cramming because I can't work under pressure. Here are some tips on how to battle the pressures of taking an exam.

Before you take the exam:

1. Study at least a month before your finals- I know it's hard to manage your time due to so many school requirements. Our brains need to incubate the information. Cramming will make matters worse by adding up to the anxiety. Spare at least an hour during the weekend or cut back on your tweeting by browsing over your notes. This way, you will be more relaxed and avoid panic.

2. Don't procrastinate- If you need to submit a term paper in a couple of weeks, finish it ahead of time. This will ease your burden when you are reviewing for your exam.

3. Try answering practice questions- This tip would come in handy when you are studying for your SAT, GRE, GED and other tests. Some questions can be downloaded for free on the internet. That way, you will be familiar with the test questions as well as pick up content.

4. Avail of study materials- These are available in bookstores or online. offers a wide array of study materials for TOEFL, GMAT, GRE, and SAT. It is not a waste of money. Consider it as an investment because you can study at your own pace and retake the practice test questions for as many times you need.

5. Exercise- This keeps your mind alert and increases the blood flow in your body. Do an hour of yoga, Pilates, or simple exercises, such as walking to keep your mind calm and to relax your nerves. Exercise boosts your stamina. You need the energy to do all the mental work.

6. Pray- If you believe in a Supreme Being, this will ease out the stress. Ask God to guide you while studying even if you feel lazy. Tell your God to help you while taking the exam and then leave it all up to him. Moments of silence are very helpful.

During the exam:

1. Go to the exam room at least 30 minutes before test time- This will avoid unnecessary anxiety. There are standard operating procedures before students take an exam such as verifying registration and filling out paper work.

2. Read the directions carefully- Some students don't pay attention to the directions and end up flunking the exam. Peruse all words carefully and pay attention to details.

3. Don't spend too much time on one number- If you don't know the answer, mark it and proceed to the next question. You are working under time pressure and can't afford to waste a minute. If you finish the exam ahead of time, go back to the questions you were having difficulty with and answer them.

4. Review your answers- This is essential because you might have overlooked a question and missed a point. Read the questions again one by one. Never change your first answer unless you are very sure that it is wrong.

5. Never leave an item unanswered- One unanswered number can cost a lot. Some test -takers fail the test by just one point which can make a big difference in your score.

After the test:

1. Reward yourself- After taking the exam, relax. You can sleep, watch a movie, or eat your favorite meal. You owe it to yourself. It's good to treat yourself after pushing yourself too hard. If you pass, then party harder!


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