How to prepare for examinations

Ms. Connie Musisi

When we are well-prepared for exams, we often excel but when we are ill-prepared, disorganised or confused, we end up failing. Therefore, it is important that by this time of the semester you are simply putting final touches to your preparations. CONNIE MUSISI writes.

The following tips will further guide you to cope during exam:

Before the exam

  • Get a good night’s sleep. It may be tempting to stay up all night and revise but if you are tired, your brain will not function properly. When you get a good night’s sleep, your brain will be alert and you will recall more material.

Even during the revision period, get enough rest. Periodic breaks as you revise are essential.

  • Find time to relax. Relaxation is a vital part of the revision process. Physical activity, such as jogging or aerobics, can stimulate your brain into more activity when you are trying to remember a lot of information.
  • Eat a good meal. Exam time is not for snacks. Our bodies use a lot of calories during this time; so feed right. Avoid oily and fatty foodstuffs, and do not consume alcohol.
  • Make sure you know the exam venue beforehand. Find time to carefully study the exams timetable. Acquaint yourself with the time and venue of the exam to avoid inconveniences.
  • Practise writing basic notes on topics you think may crop up. This will help your initial preparation when in the exam room. When you get to work on a question, you will have learned the skill of listingthe main points to cover. That way, forgetfulness will not be an issue halfway through the paper as you can simply refer to the brief list you prepared.
  • Read (and attempt) past exam papers. When you read through the papers, see how the questions are worded and try to grasp what is being asked of you. Look for any recurring themes across past papers so you have an idea of the kind of topics that crop up again and again.

During the exam

  • Stay calm and relaxed. Look at the questions carefully. Prayer is very important. Putting God in charge of everything is the right thing to do. But remember, God has a role to play and so do you. If you spent the whole semester in bars and nightclubs instead of class and the library, do not expect God to liberate you from your ignorance!
  • Do not panic! If you cannot think straight, stop trying to concentrate for a few seconds. Take a few deep breaths and start again. When you calm down, make basic notes to help you get back on track. If you fail to settle down completely, get a toilet break or ask to be escorted out of the room for a breather. Walking away from the exam room may sound like a waste of time, but a massive panic attack is even worse!
  • Do not revise as you walk into the exam room. If it is not in now, it will not go into your head with seconds to spare. If you study in advance, you can avoid this ever happening.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam venue. Get to the exam room with time to spare. Make sure you have all that is required. This includes more than one functioning pen, your passbook, a laptop where applicable. Avoid carrying illegal material like notes and mobile phones.
  • Read over the answers when done. Give yourself a few minutes before the exam ends to make sure you are happy with what you have written. Even if you do not change anything, it is better to check and be sure.
  • Finally, do not beat yourself up. No matter how you fare in the exam, let it go. Trust that you did what you could and you have to draw a line under it. Look to the future, not the past.

I wish you success in your exam, and may the Lord guide you.