Sometimes, the morning of a final exam can feel like a relief. For many students, the work has already been done, and now comes the time to simply show off what you’ve learned. For others, the actual taking of a test can present a great source of anxiety. No matter which category you fall into, having a solid routine on the morning of your final exam can be very helpful.
Remember the most important meal of the day
While you should be eating breakfast every day, it is especially important the mornings of your exams. Many finals take a significant amount of time, and hunger can be very distracting midway through. Eat a filling and nutritious breakfast to avoid those mid-test rumbles.
Choose foods that are high in protein for increased mental alertness. If you feel you need caffeine, such as coffee, drink some, but do so sparingly. Too much can make you jittery. Eat quality carbohydrates (think a bagel with peanut butter) and not a handful of Starbursts. Also try to eat fruit and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, as well as foods rich in vitmains B-6 and B-12 for help with memory and general well-being.
Wake up more than your mind
Taking a test can often feel like a full-body experience, so spend some time waking up your body on the mornings of your finals. You’ll notice that your mind feels more awake, too — which means it is more apt to give correct answers on that test!
There are many different ways to help yourself wake up, so find something that works for you personally. Playing music that you enjoy can be a great way to get energized. Singing along with songs can help you wake up and a little bit of dancing can loosen up your body. You may also want to perform a bit of formal exercise beforehand. Go for a run, do some jumping-jacks, or lift weights — whatever makes you feel strong and ready to rock the test.
Prepare the night before — and leave it at that
It can be tempting to cram or even review rapidly the morning of a test, but it isn’t necessarily a good idea. The brain takes time to learn things, so chances are, if you’ve neglected to study a certain topic over the last few weeks, you’re unlikely to retain it now. Trying to fit in some last moment review may only stress you out, leading to lower test scores.
As part of your preparation the night before, you should familiarize yourself with the test settings, make sure you know where you’re going, and prepare your materials. You’ll need to gather your supplies (think pencils, calculators, etc.) and come up with your game plan for the next morning. This way, you feel calm, collected, and ready to ace your exam.
The bottom line
If you’ve adequately prepared for your test, the day of is just a formality. By this point, you’ve put in the time it takes to ace your final exam — you’ve got the knowledge to back you up. Do what you can to build your confidence, wake up your brain, and take charge of your success.
Heather Hamilton is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.