Many times with the test just one day away, you are not aware of what you should be doing or whether you should be doing anything at all. Should you spend the night before cramming or give up?
Here are some tips from a school guidance counselor about what you should be doing on the day before the exam.
1. Review the topics you are still struggling with lightly
The day before the test is not the time to perform all your studying but, you can do some lightweight reviews of the study material. Otherwise, treat this as a day to relax. Gather all the notes, textbooks, and other study material in a quiet room such as your bedroom or local library. Review the pesky areas you are still struggling with that may include some SAT vocab words or mathematical formulae. If you are studying for a nursing exam, shortly check online material such as the guides and resources by Osmosis.
But do not spend more than an hour or two reviewing your study material. Never use this last day as an intense session for study. Even if you have not studied everything, you should never attempt cramming at the last moment. You are unlikely to remember anything you have studied in one lengthy session. Concentrate more on the difficult topics and try to get them down pat.
2. Gather all things you need for the exam
Remember, preparation is your key to success. It is also the key to not feeling stressed out on the day of the exam. Ensure that you have all the material you are going to need for the test on the night before the exam. Get that backpack ready with the things for the test. You may need this material,
- Two sharpened pencils.
- Pencil sharpener.
Get these items ready on the day before the test as it will make you feel less stressed on the morning of the exam especially when you are likely to snooze on too many occasions.
3. Be aware of the place where the exam will be held and how to get there
If the exam is going to be held at a school or exam center other than your own, it is crucial that you are aware of the exact place and how you are going to get there. Ideally, you should have planned these things long before the day of the test but if not do this on the day prior. If the test is in your school, be aware of the classroom you are visiting for the test. If you have to visit another school for a specific kind of test, confirm the school address and the classroom you have to visit for the exam. Have a backup plan while using public transportation in case the train or the bus arrives late. Keep in mind that it is better to be pretty early rather than being a little bit late.
4. Get enough sleep
As noted earlier you should never try to study a great deal on the day before the test and never go for the all-nighter. According to a study conducted in 2014, the students that slept seven hours on the night before the exam usually scored better than those who got less than six hours of sleep. Many studies have indicated that skipping sleep for study can be counterproductive as sufficient sleep can mean higher grades. Therefore get at least seven hours of sleep on the night before the exam. Some of the students may need a solid eight or nine hours of sleep while others can make do with just five to six hours. Although the exact amount of sleep you need depends on your sleeping habits, generally get the amount of sleep needed to feel rested and ready for the exam.
5. Eat the right food
Getting ready for the exam means also eating the right nutrients that can help in supporting your memory and focus. Taking sugar free vitamins can also help in boosting brain power in multiple ways as well.
The food you eat affects your mental capacity and especially influences whether you feel energized or not to take the exam. Before the actual exam, you should start a study diet. Your body will not change within a day, that’s why a long-term plan is the best solution. The first thought would be to avoid fats in the diet, but a study by Daniel Amen and colleagues showed that some foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are sources of omega-3 fatty acids which can increase the blood flow in your brain and improve cognitive abilities.
The next obvious suggestion is to drink as much water as you can since water can help in clear thinking and balance your mood. Other beverages that can be part of a healthy diet are teas, plain coffee, and flavored waters. While on the other hand, some researchers from the National Centre for Biotechnology detected some relations between greasy, fried foods and learning abilities and memory declines.
The brain-gut connection
Are you having butterflies in your stomach on the night before a test? There is a connection between how your brain and gut influence each other. One would have envisaged that the brain that is the command center of your body does all the controlling such as sending signals and providing instructions to the gut as well. Scientists these days are saying that there is a second brain and it lives in the gut or digestive organs. Therefore, it is not top-down communication after all. Your brain and gut are connected through a gut-brain axis. This is the information transferring center between these two organs. Although the main function of our stomach is controlling the process of our digestion, it has a mind of its own. It has its senses and reflexes and it sometimes works without any input from the brain. Therefore on the day before the exam, any discomfort in the guts can lead to the production of stress or anxiety and this also leads to depression. Having this troubled gut will send signals to your brain. If you suffer from brain fog or foul mood just before the exam, your gut in all probability is acting up. It is a good idea to maintain a record of your moods if you are feeling low before the exam.