Exam day is here. You have worked hard in the past weeks to make it to today, but what about the last 12-hours leading to your exam. Don’t jeopardize all of your efforts, instead create an exam day routine to assure that your performance will be the best you can give.
The night before
The night before an exam is not designed to learn new material instead take time to do something you like. Attend a yoga class, take a warm bath, pamper yourself; make yourself feel good. If you think about it, you deserve it; you have worked days and nights for that exam.
Get to bed early enough to get your 8-hours of sleep. Those hours that you will use cramming because let’s be real if you pull an all-nighter it’s because you are cramming. It might seem like a good idea at that moment to cash in some extra study hours but nothing, NOTHING, will replace the benefits of a good night of sleep. Your brain needs rest to perform at its maximum.
For some people, it might be hard to fall asleep the night before because of the anxiety rising. I like listening to a sleep story from Calm; it helps silence my thoughts about the exam because I focus on the story. I also use a pillow mist, or you can use some lavender oil over your pillow.
Critical note: don’t forget to put an alarm. You would not want to sleep in on that morning.
The morning of your exam day
Wake up a few hours before the exam time, not necessarily to study, you can review some material if you want, but I find that when I do that I end up more stressed than anything else. You know yourself better than anybody else so do what works for you.
Have a sustainable breakfast made of proteins and whole grains. A meal that will get you through that exam without starting to get hungry mid-exam. You don’t want any distractions while you are writing your exam. And please, don’t skip breakfast because your brain needs sugar to function.
Let’s talk coffee. You all know how much I love coffee but on exam day, I only drink one cup in the morning and I bring coffee beans with me to snack on. We all know that coffee is a diuretic and you don’t want to have to go to the toilet ten times. So coffee beans are a great replacement!
Get to school on time even a little earlier but avoid your classmates. I never show in front of the classroom door in advance, I am on campus but somewhere else. I don’t want to hear people talking about the material we had to study or get “contaminated” with the general anxiety feeling floating in the air. Anxiety is contagious, and I have enough to deal with mine, I don’t need everybody else’s. Try to avoid any stressor before you take your exam.
The minutes before
There you are, sitting in front of your exam copy. Maybe you feel a 100% confident and if that’s the case, well all props to you. I know that usually, at that exact moment I start having a little anxiety, nothing too severe but it’s unpleasant. So while they are telling us the usual rules about cheating, bathroom breaks and so and so, I close my eyes, and I meditate. Yes, for those few minutes I concentrate on my breath, I body scan every part of my body, and I repeat a mantra that helps me bring back all my focus on that exam and makes my anxiety go away.
While you are taking your exam
My exams are usually 3 to 3 hours and a half, somewhere close to the middle of that time; I take a bathroom break even if I don’t need to use the bathroom. I do that to stretch and get some blood running through my veins (would not what to have a DVT on an exam!), plus it helps with my attention span. Also, bring some snacks if you are allowed just in case you get the munchies.
I wear an essential oil necklace with lavender oil, again the purpose of that is to calm me down while I write my exam!
I hope this article will help you on your exam day! Let me know in the comments below if you try any of those tips, and also I want to hear about your exam day rituals!