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How to succeed on the day of your exams
July 31, 2021

We are only a few weeks away from A – Level and GCSE results being published and we wish everyone the best of luck. 

Students about to start Year 10 and 11 this September should heed the advice below for achieving top results.

The answer to “How to succeed on the day of your exams” is best summarized with a few simple words: "As you are about to enter the exam hall, stay away from negative people around you who can negatively influence your positive mindset."

A more detailed explanation follows below ...

You arrive early for your exam and there are many people milling around displaying pre exam nerves whilst chatting about their likely lack of performance.

Do everything in your power to avoid listening to anxious people full of "self doubt" talking about how nervous they feel, how they are not going to do well or that this year's paper is going to be tougher than last year’s paper.

The worst type of negativity is what the anthropologist Kate Fox observed in exam rituals of crowds of students waiting to enter the exam hall where: “Modesty is important: even if you are feeling reasonably calm and confident, it is not done to say so. You must pretend to be full of anxiety and self-doubt, convinced that you are going to fail.”

Your job is to do the opposite. Stay focused, "reasonably calm and [quietly] confident" in achieving the best grade you can in the exam you are about to walk into.

If you feel the need to talk to others before entering the exam hall, do everything in your power to talk about anything else, other than the exam itself.  Instead, chat about your favourite sport or something completely trivial, such as your favourite or worst ever X Factor contestants.

An even better idea is to avoid talking to anyone at all.

Instead, find a quiet corner, avoid all human contact and spend the last few moments before entering the exam hall gathering your thoughts and getting yourself into a relaxed state of mind.  Take a few deep breaths and gently exhale. This will get oxygen into your brain and will help you to think more clearly when you are reading and answering exam questions.  Or using “visualization techniques” of successfully reaching your goal will have the same encouraging effects (look out for more about “visualization techniques” on www.afterschoollearning.com).

You've put in the graft and time into your revision required to do well. Now is not the time to have any self doubt. And the last thing you need is listening to negative people feeding you negative thoughts.

Have the mindset of a winner and go into the exam hall ready to succeed. Make sure you read the questions carefully, answer what is asked of you, check and correct your work and finish all the required questions on time.  Your revision has prepared you for success. As the Nike ad says: "Just do it."

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