Hethersett Old Hall School (HOHS) blog – an independent day and boarding school near Norwich, Norfolk.

For girls and boys from Nursery to Sixth Form – discover the difference.

Top tips for taking exams


Get a good nights SLEEP
Getting plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours) will help you to concentrate, memorise and recall information.

EAT a Low GI, nutritious breakfast
Studies have found that students who skip breakfast experience a 20-40% reduction in thinking skills (i.e. concentration, memory and alertness). Eating a Low GI, nutritious breakfast (such as porridge with fruit, wholegrain toast or an omelette) will stabilise your mood and give you plenty of energy for the day. Bananas are excellent food to eat before an exam because they release their energy slowly.

EXERCISE for at least 30 minutes a day, everyday
Exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety. It also gets blood flowing to your brain (supplying oxygen, antioxidant and glucose) which helps you to think more clearly.


Drink plenty of WATER
Taking regular sips of water while studying and taking your exams helps to keep your brain hydrated and clear a foggy memory. A recent study found students who take water into the examination hall scored an average of 5% higher than those without.


AVOID drinking caffeine (e.g. energy drinks, coke and coffee)
Caffeine is a stimulant drug that gives you a rush and makes you feel good in the short-term, but eventually wears off and leaves you feeling cranky and wanting more. It is also a diuretic, so it makes you urinate, which means you lose water, become thirsty and want to drink more soft drink. Caffeine drives the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones that in turn produce the ‘fight or flight’ response; inducing a state of stress before an exam is never a good idea!


Take a few deep BREATHS when you get stuck
If you come across a question you’re not sure how to answer in the exam, stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths. If you are not sure how to answer it, don’t panic, move on to another question.


Dealing with writer’s CRAMP
Writers cramp can be caused by holding your pen too tight. Loosen your grip or get a pen that you won’t have to press down so hard on the paper.


Go straight home after the exam and RELAX
Once the exam is over there is no point discussing with friends what you put for each question as this can make you feel anxious. Just go home, relax and focus on the next exam.


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