Exam Prep: 10 Do's and Don'ts before an Exam

Exams are one of the most crucial factors of a student's time at university. The results of your exams can be the defining feature of whether you end up graduating or not. Here are ten things you should and should not do before an exam.

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Exams are one of the most crucial factors of a student's time at university. The results of your exams can be the defining feature of whether you end up graduating or not. That is why in this article, I will list ten things you should and should not do before an exam.
The Don'ts:

1. Pull an all-nighter.
We are all guilty of cramming for assignments and tests the previous night to scrape a C- to pass. However, this will not work with an exam. It's recommended that you spend at least a week before your exam revising your course material and practicing on a dummy run exam if you were provided with one beforehand. Cramming the night before and pulling an all-nighter will only make you unnecessarily tired the day of your exam and makes your chances of passing harder. Leave this to the first years and prepare beforehand.


2. Eat/drink too much before your exam.
We all get hungry but honestly, who wants to be wasting precious exam minutes in the bathroom peeing - every second counts. And no, you will not find any inspiration for tough exam questions by taking a 10-minute toilet break. Be disciplined and get yourself a well-earned treat after finishing your exam.


3. Please don’t cheat.
This point is an obvious one, but I knew of people who would cheat in their exams. Writing citations on used tissues, or their arm and then covering it with their t-shirt sleeve, and that’s just from what I can remember. Getting caught cheating on an exam will see you heavily penalised and possibly fail your entire degree. It’s not worth the risk, so please don’t be a cheater and earn that A grade.


4. Scroll Social Media
The endless hole of social media will consume all your time and effort, which should be instead put towards preparing for your exam. Ignore your Instagram DMs, postpone updating your status, and leave your newsfeed to a later date.


5. Give up
This point is one of the most valuable pieces of the exam puzzle. Exams are stressful, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Ask for help when necessary and take a break if needed. Exams are tough, but manageable and keeping a positive attitude will influence the output of your work and consequently whether you pass or need to keep trying.

The Do's: 

1. Arrive early for your exam
This step helps give you time to get your bearings sorted and even do a last-minute revision after a good night's rest (not an all-nighter). Take a breath, stay relaxed and allow yourself a moment of calm. Also, this is better than running late for your exam and worrying about not making it in time. Time management and preparation will serve you well here.


2. Bring a spare pen, pencil, tissues, etc.
Students are limited in what they can bring into the examination room. My advice would be to have a spare pen or two handy in case your main pen breaks or runs out of ink. Tissues are handy if you can bring them in for your sniffles. A water bottle is good for hydrating but don’t drink too much (as stated in step 2).


3. Turn your phone off before entering the exam.
I have laughed so many times at students who have their phone ringtone blast out in the middle of an empty lecture hall during an exam. This is a rookie mistake that is just jeopardising your chance to ace your exam and distracting other people too. Don’t be that guy and keep your phone off and in your bag during exams.


4. Leave the coffee for after your exam.
Most students are groggy before an exam and will snatch a ‘cup of joe’ to get a caffeine rush before the exam. What most don’t expect is the surprise drop of energy after your caffeine high is over. Or even worse is being over-energetic and not having time to think or consider the exam questions. Reward yourself with a flat white or latte after the exam finishes.


5. Keep your wandering thoughts on the exam.
How many times do we lose focus and end up looking around the room, at the clock, and at other people when waiting for the exam to finally begin? The answer is too much. Once again, this is taking away from what should be the focus of your attention - the exam! Some may say that distractions help to ease your nerves for your upcoming exam, but I disagree. Keep your head on the exam, and it will be over before you know it. Furthermore, I encourage you to keep focused and prepare for what is to come.

- Taylor Tutawa, Nxtstep Content Writer

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