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Improve your exam performance inside and out

Exam Illustration


The moment’s looming when you’re going to walk into that exam hall and show the exam paper who’s boss. How you cope with the moment can be transformed with a few mental tools. First and foremost the key to walking any challenge is in the preparation. Try out these internal and external tips to help keep your mind stay clear and cool.


Deep breathing + clear thinking = better performance

We have two nervous systems in our bodies. Shallow breathing works on the sympathetic nervous system (the ‘fight or flight’ response) which makes our hearts work harder and beat faster. This in turn makes us nervous and anxious.

Our other nervous system, parasympathetic, is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system. If we tap into this we can rest and digest rather than prepare to fight or flee. To do this is as simple as taking a deep breath. If you’re feeling panicked and out of control, deep breathing until your system if refreshed with oxygen will leave you relaxed and ready to perform.


Positive thinking + positive actions = positive results

Sometimes your head can feel submerged in work during the run-up to exams. This is the moment to externalise your activities – get out there and remind yourself what it’s all for. Reconnect with your life before revision by picking up on one of your positive pastimes or a favourite film with a feel-good, well resolved ending. One other quick trip away from your studies is to make a Goal Setting Grid. Simply draw one of your own based on the image here and fill in your personal and educational goals. It will help you to focus on your entire journey as well as the positive contribution this stage will make to it.