Assessments literally assess your understanding of a topic or subject by asking you questions without giving you access to textbooks... we all know that. But what we don’t all know is how to know if you are prepared enough and what to actually do when you are done reviewing all the material and you are sitting there contemplating life, pondering over whether you are going to fail or not. Taking out all the dramatic side of it; here is a list (with a bonus of 2 resources!) of what you should actually do before an assessment.
Take a break
I know this sounds counterintuitive but you don’t want your brain to be burned out from studying right before your test. If you study too much you’ll have a blockage and your brain won’t be ready to recall the information you need. What I do is I study very lightly the day before my exam, and I don’t study anything the morning of my exam - it’s the way that works best for me. Some people do best when completely not studying the day before the exam.
The previous point does not mean that you shouldn’t study, please do! Give it is a big examination - depending on how big the topics are and if you have any other exam at the same time, you should give yourself at least 1 month for revising (official exams and end of year exams). The first couple weeks is going over the information, reminding yourself of everything you’ve learnt, and the last 2 weeks is going through past papers. This is the best way you can revise, and even though procrastination and cramming is becoming ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’, your grades that come out won't be as ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’ as you want them to be.
Go through Checklists and Specs
Your actual revision of material should be done before the night preceding your exams, so going through checklists and specs would be the go-to at this moment. Go through every topic and make sure you know what every keyword means, as well as any formulas or quotes you have to memorise. Getting hold of past papers as well will serve you tons (especially at GCSE and A-Levels).
Check that you have all the materials needed
Whether you need a calculator, ruler, maths set, or formula sheets, make sure you’ve got all of that packed in your bag (especially during COVID-19 times where you can’t exchange material). Fun story: Once the teacher made me redo a test just because I asked for a ruler - (this was after me telling him it was extremely unfair to give me a 0 when I only asked for a ruler... so, take it from me, come prepared!)
Take care of yourself before your exam! The last thing you want is to be stressed and not be able to perform your best. Don’t pull an all-nighter - please. Get AT LEAST 6 hours of sleep if you seriously have to cram that night. If you are into physical activity in the morning, please do so - a 10 - 30 minutes jog will get your blood flowing getting you ready, especially if your exam is the first thing in the morning. Have a good healthy breakfast as well! We know many people skip breakfast, but exam days are the times where you seriously have to consider breaking this habit.
Below are 2 checklists I designed for you to make sure you perform your best in any quiz, test or exam!
Checklist for the night before your assessment.
Download revision checklists and make sure you check off every topic if you haven’t already done so.
Go over the specification and make sure you know about everything that it mentions.
Make sure you go over all the things you have to know by heart (formulas, quotes, definitions, dates, etc…) For techniques on memorisation check out our article ‘How to Get Better Grades - Fast and 100% Effective.’
Make sure you’ve got all the material needed in your bag. Check out our article for detailed information on what you should make sure you have in your pencil case; ‘Everything You Need in Your Pencil Case’
Set an alarm to go to sleep and an alarm to wake up the second day. Aim for a solid 10 hours of sleep!
Checklist for the morning of the day of your assessment.
Put on some upbeat music for a propitious start to the day
Affirmations in front of your mirror!
Meditate, Pray, or anything to destress your mind and get rid of nervousness.
Try to wear something that makes you happy (of course, following the dress code) could be a nice watch, bracelet, earrings, anything that makes you feel good.
Drink lots of water!
Can you go out for some Cardio?
Have a healthy and balanced breakfast - not too big though!
Talk to some friends on your way to school and/or before your exam, go in with a positive attitude that you WILL do your best!
Assessments might be the worst parts of school, but remember, assessments are there to test yourself how much you already know, not to impress anyone! You can be happy with what would be the equivalent of an A* or with a C, it’s all for you. The more you take assessments, the more you grow up to understand their value and that they are someone there for you to prepare yourself for the big thing (GCSE and A-Levels). Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for whatever grade you are happy with and always consider it as a way of improving yourself and your grades. I wish you all the best and if you need any more tips, help, or even notes, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll always do my best to help.