Exam season – ensuring you perform when it counts

Time is limited during exam season, so this post is short and to the point. A key factor in passing exams is the ability to perform when you really need to, under stressful conditions. Students often over-look this aspect of academic success, devoting all of their energy into revising the course material. Being able to produce your best on the day is a skill, that can be learnt.

Here are some tips to help you be in peak mental condition at exam time:

1, Practice as much as possible under exam conditions. Making your practice so pressurised will give you a sense that you can cope with anything thrown at you on exam day. One way to do this is to reduce the amount of time you have to do questions.

2, Work out how you can get into ‘the zone.’ This means getting into a mindset where you feel confident, calm and focused. You can do this by listening to certain music, writing down your accomplishments in the past, telling yourself positive affirmations or simple deep breathing exercises. Whatever works for you – the goal is to feel totally concentrated on exam day. You need to practice this – it won’t happen by chance.

3, Stop thinking about the outcome of the exams – what it means or the consequences. This will not help. What will help is focusing on what you need to do to prepare really well, then focusing ALL your energy on that process.

4, Don’t waste time thinking about anything that is outside of your control. Other peoples expectations of you are outside of your control. You only really have control over your attitude and feelings. So be kind to yourself, think positively and be excited that this is your chance to show the examiners how much you know.

5, Remember, it’s ok to be nervous. It means you care, and is a sign that you are excited about something. It doesn’t mean something bad is about to happen.