The Final (exam) Countdown

What's the best way to prepare in the 24 hours leading up to your exam? Here are our tips!

Don’t be tired If you’ve stayed up all night to do last minute revision you will be so tired in the exam that you won’t be able to do your best. Get an early night before each exam that you’re sitting.

Eat protein before long exams – not carbohydrates An exam takes physical stamina. You can’t ignore your body if you want your brain to work at its best. Stuffing it full of sugar, or some Red-Bull type drink just before will work fine for the first hour or so, but by the end of a three-hour exam you’ll have completely run out of energy. You need some food that will slowly release energy. Try pasta, fish or eggs.

Get the important facts into short-term memory In the last 24 hours it’s too late to try and understand anything new. What you can do is cram some facts into short-term memory. This is the time to go through the notes looking at those “key points” sections. If you haven’t already done it as part of your revision (and you should have done it), write out a sheet with just the key facts. See how many you can remember. Then write out another sheet with just the ones you forgot. See how many you remember now. Continue until you’ve either remembered it all, or run out of time.Also, read through your worked solutions for the last three year’s papers. Then, get a good night’s sleep, or go for a walk and get some fresh air.

Exercise – get the blood pumping round In the last couple of hours, go for a run, or work out in the gym. Seriously, studies have shown that the most creative periods come after a period of exercise and that the benefits of taking exercise can last for up to two hours. Exams aren’t just about memory, you’ll need your brain to be in top working condition.

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