3 tips for staying calm during an exam

Exams can be stressful for some people.

At Auckland Institute of Studies, we utilise a number of different forms of assessment, as outlined in the Student Handbook. These can include in-class tests, semester assignments, practical competencies and external exams.

While every student has an opinion on the merits of these testing methods, it's vital that they are able to apply their skills and knowledge in the best way – regardless of whether that is in class, at home or in an exam environment. Of course, this is easier said than done, with students often struggling to overcome the pressure of formalised exams, in particular.

How can you use exam time appropriately?How can you use exam time appropriately?

So, if you have an exam coming up, here are three top tips for staying cool, calm and collected from start to finish.

1) Take a few minutes at the start

While most people want to get writing as quickly as possible during an exam, it might not be the best approach to take. This is because it's recommended that you answer the easiest questions first, not just the questions in the way they are ordered on the paper.

This technique can help boost your confidence and allow you to calm down at the beginning of the exam. Once you have a few easy questions completed, you'll be in the right mindset to tackle the more complex tasks.

2) Space your time out

Split up your time based one how hard the question is and how many marks it is worth.

In most exams, there will be some questions that you can produce a considerably long answer (thanks to your study efforts). However, you will need to balance your time between questions and ensure that you aren't allocating too much of your energy towards something worth only limited marks.

This comes down to the planning at the start of the exam. Split up your time based on how hard the question is and how many marks it is worth. Of course, if you have extra time at the end, you can always add more detail to your answers!

3) Don't leave early

Depending on your qualification, it might be possible to leave the exam early. While this could seem like a good idea if you are finished quickly, you do run the risk of remembering something after you have walked out.

If you are confident in your answers, make sure you have read and re-read each question and provided enough detail for each task. This means it is vital to use the allocated time wisely and review your exam comprehensively before thinking about leaving.

Exam time can be a stressful time for many students. If you need help during this time, feel free to reach out our helpful support team today.