Exam tips

Taking an exam is a skill you can learn. It requires good preparation and a good exam strategy. For example, an open exam requires a different approach from an open question exam or oral exam.

Taking an exam is a stressful activity for most people. You want to pass and have to demonstrate at that particular point in time that you have mastered the material. A bit of stress is by no means bad and will help you perform better. Sometimes, though, the fear becomes so overwhelming that it causes added stress, impairs your preparations and worsens your exam strategy. Luckily there are things you can do about this! Try the following tips. If you need more assistance, the student psychologists will be happy to provide advice.

Ten tips for improving how you take exams

Do

Don’t

1. Start on time and work regularly.

1. Put things off until the last moment.

2. Prepare well and invest enough time in the exam.

2. Keep working non-stop or spend an extreme amount of time on the exam.

3. While you are preparing for the exam, check regularly to see where you are, so you can build up your confidence.

3. Continuously doubt your capabilities and the quality of your preparation.

4. Stop your preparation in time, so you can be well rested for the exam.

4. Continue until the very last minute.

5. Realise that stress is a part of the exam and will not influence your performance negatively.

5. Think that stress means you will fail.

6. If at an exam you turn out to know 70% of the material well, that will be enough.

6. Think you have to know everything, and anything less is not enough.

7. Remember you have to think during an exam, which takes effort and time.

7. Think you don’t know the answer at all if you can’t come up with it right away

8. Approach the exam strategically.

8. Work without thinking it through and just hope for the best.

9. Focus your attention on the exam. Afterwards you can think about whatever you want.

9. Worry about the exam (“I can’t do it”, “if only I had ...”).

10. Afterwards, evaluate your performance. Learn from your mistakes.

10. Put it all out of your head straight away,  not learning from mistakes because you think you shouldn’t be making any .

Last Modified: 13-12-2016