With the return of in-person assessments on the distant horizon, many young people are starting to feel apprehensive about an exam season. Throughout the pandemic students have been evaluated through reference tests and in classroom assessments – many pupils have preferred this because they feel less nervous compared to exams. The truth is that examinations can be stressful, but with the right preparation they can be seen as an exciting opportunity to prove your skills.
On the day of the exam there will be plenty of things to worry about, so it is important to be organised and prepared to minimise unnecessary stress. A few simple organisation tips will help you to focus on the task at hand and avoid being distracted. Firstly, make sure you are aware of your exam timetable and the timings and structure of each exam. This will help you to organise your revision timetable and can ensure that you give yourself enough time to tackle each question properly. If you aren’t sure how long you should be spending on each section of the exam, ask your teacher or tutor to talk through the exam for you.
Additionally, the night before the exam it is crucial to pack your bag to reduce stress in the morning. Think carefully about what you will need – mobile phones and earphones should probably be left at home or in a locker while pens (which work!) and a water bottle are definitely important. Packing a bag for the exam will be crucial if you are studying a dancing, acting or physical education course where missing kit can be the difference between a brilliant performance or a stressful mission to find appropriate clothing before the assessment begins.
It is understandable to be worried in the exam. After all the exams are your opportunity to prove how much you have worked over the last two or three years, and many young people will be hoping they get the grades they need for their future career. Relaxation techniques such as taking three deep breaths can encourage your mind to ignore the high-pressure situation and focus on doing your best.
If you do find that you are getting worried about how a particular question is going, do not be afraid to move onto the next section of the assessment and return to the difficult partlater on. This will give you an opportunity to relax and build your confidence. Remember not to worry about what anyone else in the exam hall is doing – all that matters is you and the exam.
I know this seems difficult to believe but sitting an exam can actually be an enjoyable experience! Opening the exam paper and realising that you know enough about the topic to secure the grade you deserve is be a huge relief. Your tutor can help you to make a solid revision plan which will help you to cover the core skills and topics so that you avoid unpleasant surprises on the day.
A detailed revision plan can also help you to get used to key exam skills such as working for extended periods and properly responding to the question.
This blog is written by Samuel Heaton, our CVT English teacher
Keywords: stress management, revision, exam skills, assessments, organisation