Monday, 26 May 2008

Before the exam

Avoid the wafts of panic that hang outside exams; find somewhere quiet and unflustered

Outside the exam ignore those people. You know the ones. Well-prepared but nevertheless spreading their own brand of insecure worry-vibes out on a strong frequency. Get your desk number and picture where your desk will be in the room.

Then relax, perhaps find your revision buddies, talk about general course issues, the news, where you are going to eat after the exam, a few major references etc. This mix of getting into the intellectual groove whilst soothing the nerves is best.

Now, when you walk in you should be calm and confident and not letting nerves frazzle your mind and serve up blocks. On the other hand, a bit of natural edge is good. You don't want to be so completely relaxed you feel like a kip.

When you get in you can make a bee-line to your desk, as you know its location, and exploit the time at the start to get ready and even think about your answers if they are showing (n.b. useful skill to be able to read back-to-front text through paper. Or, just turn the question sheet over. Technically, there is nothing saying you shouldn't; it's just one of those funny obedience to authority things that we assume we can't. Do what you want - don't hold me responsible if some adjudicator elbow drops you.)

Keep the contents of your desk to a minimum. Check for table wobbles. Head up your booklets. Open any drinks or snacks before. Crackling or the "ft-sssss" of a bottle opening isn't appreciated during the exam. Hydrate before, not during.

You should be calm, ready and excited. Panic will be detrimental. So will apathy. Now the exam starts...

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