Exams are a stressful time- this guide has been created to try to relieve stress and the jittery nerves from your child. Print out a copy and allow them to read through the required sections when it is necessary!
Before the test:
You’ve done the revision, but maybe you’re still a bit nervous for what could come up. Being nervous can have consequences on your performance in a test, therefore have a read of this guide to try and avoid your nerves taking over.
- Relax and take your time
Don’t cramm your studying and revision to the night before a test, as you will not be able to fully absorb the information into your brain. However, do not study everything months before the exam and then not go back over the material as this could result in you forgetting everything. The solution to this is, once the test date is given to you, create a timetable for learning new material and revising the old material, even if at first, it’s only for 15 minutes a night.
As the exam day approaches focus more time on the parts that you are struggling with and that confuse you. By pacing yourself you are allowing yourself to relax, learn the material, and most importantly, ask the teacher ahead of time if something isn’t completely clear to you.
When you are nervous, it is important to get all the excess energy out, therefore take half an hour to an hour study break and exercise your body. This could mean going for a bike ride with your friends or going for a run or playing a game of football. If you don’t feel comfortable taking that much time away from studying, 5 minutes running around your room or doing star jumps will have the same exhilarating effect and will allow you to be ready to get back to work effectively and efficiently.
- Pre-pack Everything
Make sure you pack your bag- don’t leave it to your parents, sisters, brothers or your pets! This will allow you to be certain you are prepared and have everything you need. The night before, pack extra pencils and pens, paper, and make sure the textbook, novel, or calculator that you may need is packed in your bag. This will take away the stress before your exam that you have not got something you may need.
Meditation can have the same effect on your mind as exercise- it does not matter if you have no idea how to do it. Get yourself comfortable and take a break for at least 20 minutes. Close your eyes and let your mind wander by itself, thinking about your friends, your favourite television show, what you want to do over the weekend, anything that makes you happy, or even nothing at all. A quick meditation will leave you refreshed and more confident about your studying.
- Review Your Notes
Arriving to your test early will allow you to review your notes and refresh your memory. If you’ve been pacing yourself, everything should be familiar as you should have gone over everything in detail by the time the exam day arrives. In fact, you’ll probably know all the answers!
- Get a good night sleep before the big day
A good night sleep will allow you feel to refreshed and ready to take on the exam. Being too tired will stop you from being able to focus and will decrease your ability of thinking and concentration. ‘8 to 10 hours’ sleep is a good night sleep before an exam.
- What if I feel ill on the day?
The advice does not vary dependent on where you live – do not take the test if you feel unwell. If under the same symptomsyou would not have gone in to school, do not take the risk of doing so on such an important day.In some areas the advice is sometimes that a letter from your GP to state that youwere unwell and therefore was not able to take the test is needed.
Make sure that you know beforehand who you have to notify in the event that your child is unable to take the test due to illness and take that information with you if the test venue is not local to your home. Every area has reserve dates or other arrangements for children who miss a test to take it on another date.Make sure that your parents call the right people such as the school or Admission Authority and make arrangements for a test and what the next steps are.
During the test:
- Take your time
Relax and breath- you have paced yourself through your revision, now it is time to pace yourself through the exam. Rushing the exam will result in you making mistakes! Taking your time and slowly reading through the question will allow the information you have learnt to come from your long term memory and be available to answer the questions.
- Read the questions slowly
Reading the questions slowly will ensure you understand the questions properly. The risk of rushing through the test and not reading through the questions efficiently could result in you answering the question wrongly! This could be a disaster if it is an essay question and you have spent a fair amount of exam time answering the question, yet it is wrong due to you not reading the question properly.
- Drink water and breathe
Ensure you take a bottle of water with you and leave it on the floor. Whenever you feel you are getting a nervous and stressed, take a second to take a sip of water, breathe and remember all the hard work you have put in for this exam- you can do this.
- Think positive
Never doubt yourself in your exam- if you have followed the before the test guide and worked hard by putting the maximum amount of revision you possibly can in, then there is no reason to doubt yourself. A slight bit of doubt in an exam could cause you to become very nervous and result in silly mistakes! Stay calm and think positive.
After the test:
Congratulations, you have done it- the test is over! You may argue that the stress doesn’t automatically disappear once you hand in your exam – you want to know how you did, what you got right, what you got wrong. This is how to stay calm until you get your grade back…
- Inhale…..and Exhale!
Take a deep breath in and let it out. You have completed the test, and it probably wasn’t even as bad as you anticipated. Make sure you acknowledge that you have completed, it’s done, and now you have the freedom to concentrate on other things- you can now play that XBOX game, or go shopping with your friends!
- Speak to your parents
Speak to your parents and discuss whether there were any issues within the test. Any disruptions can be discussed with the Admissions department and they will see whether the invigilators within the test reported any issues.
- Reward Yourself
You deserve it! Go and get some sweets, buy the video game you’ve been saving up for, or go to the movies with your parents. You’ve been working hard, now it is time to treat yourself.
- Hang Out
Even if you were studying together, you, most likely, have not have chance to hang out with your friends due to revision. Now you can de-stress with your friends and go and have fun!
- Put Your Notes Away
After the exam, you will have the constant urge to look over your notes to check whether you got certain answers right- Resist this urge. This might just add unnecessary stress. The test is over and nothing can be changed now- you have done the best you can and put in a huge amount of hard work leading up to the exam, now think positive and leave your notes. Don’t ask your friends what they got, don’t check your notes- believe in yourself that you got the right answers, and wait for the results.
- Believe in Yourself
Always think positive – this is all you can do as you won’t know otherwise until you get the results. So sit back and keep telling yourself that you worked hard, you know the material, and you were well prepared. There is no reason the results should not be just fine. However, if possibly you did everything in your power to prepare for the exam, but the test did not reflect this- maybe you are disheartened? Maybe you want to avoid doing another test again? No! You are smart and think of that test as a guidance of where you need help on in the future rather than a judgment on how smart you are. Possibly you need to look at your revision and studying techniques or ask for guidance in certain areas or ask for help earlier. Keep everything in perspective: one bad grade is not the end of the world.