Preparing for exams

Exams can be stressful. They can make you panic and worry. But there are things you can do to help you prepare and make yourself feel better. 

Keeping calm

Knowing you have an exam the next day can make things pretty stressful. You might have spent ages revising but could be nervous that you left something out. Or you might have ended up not doing as much revision as you hoped. 

Don't panic. There are things you can do to help you prepare. 

3 things to do before your exam:

  1. take deep breaths
  2. stay positive
  3. make sure you know when and where the exam is.

Top tips to try the night before an exam

Try these tips to help prepare on the night before an exam:

  • Go to bed early
    Getting a good night’s sleep will help you more than trying to revise all night. It’s better to make sure you’re not tired the next day
  • Look after yourself
    Have a good, healthy meal and drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated or have a headache when you wake up
  • Re-read your notes 
    Don’t try and remember everything. Write down 5 things you want to remember for your exam and then leave it at that
  • Have a laugh 
    Chat to someone who makes you giggle. Watch funny clips on YouTube. Whatever it is, it’s important to laugh. It can loosen you up and make you feel a little less stressed. Which can only be a good thing
  • Know the details
    Find out where the exam is and what time it starts. Make sure you know how to get there and what time you need to leave
  • Set an alarm 
    Make sure you wake up in good time in the morning.

the knot in 
my stomach...
worst feeling

See what other people do to prepare for an exam on our message boards

On the day of the exam

This can seem like a nervous day. But the golden rule? Stay positive. All you can do is try your best. So try not to stress. Try these tips to help you on the day of an exam:

  • Take deep breaths
    This can help you stay calm. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Eat a good breakfast
    Before you leave home make sure that you've eaten a healthy breakfast to keep you energised
  • Don't be late
    Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam. It’s better to be early than late
  • Make sure you have what you need
    Take extra pens and pencils with you. Is there anything else you need? Like a calculator, or a compass?
  • Stay hydrated
    Bring a bottle of water with you that you can take into the exam room
  • Do what’s right for you 
    You might want to be on your own. You might want to be with a group of friends. You might want to stick some of your favourite music on your headphones. Everyone has their own way of preparing. So think about what yours is
  • And, remember: be positive!

Take a deep breath 

Calm cloud

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some long, deep breaths.

Breathe in and out with the cloud.

During the exam

Try these tips for staying calm and doing your best:

  1. read the instructions on the exam paper before you start and ask if you're not sure about anything
  2. have a look at all the questions on the exam paper before you start and plan how long to spend on each one
  3. take a couple of seconds to breathe before you start writing anything
  4. if there’s a choice of questions, start on the ones you know you can answer best
  5. leave some time to read over your answers at the end
  6. if you get stuck, move onto a question which you can answer better.

What you can do

Watch: Top Tips for the Night Before an Exam

Exams and mental health

Revision hacks ft. Lucy Moon