If you're preparing to take the prestigious Cambridge Exam, then you will have already worked hard to obtain a valuable qualification that is recognised by institutions and employers across the world. However, pre-exam nerves can easily get the better of even the most competent of students without the right preparation. Our guide will help you to do your best on exam day!
Don't get caught in the trap of staying up late the night before your exam, whether that's to distract yourself with a good film or to cram in some last minute revision. Instead, get some exercise in the day, avoid caffeine from 3pm onwards and aim to eat an evening meal with a natural source of tryptophan (turkey is a good choice), which naturally helps you to relax. Avoid alcohol and try taking a warm bath before bed. Also, do not watch TV or stare at a digital device in the evening, as the blue light tricks the brain into thinking it's morning! Instead, read, chat with your family or just have some quiet time before getting in a good eight hours of sleep.
Eat a good breakfast
No one wants to have a rumbling stomach mid-exam, so eat a good breakfast with a mix of slow release carbohydrates and protein. Eggs with wholegrain toast are a great option, or try porridge oats made with milk and served with fruit. If you're going to have a coffee, save it until just before the exam. Don't eat simple sugars which will lead to a blood sugar crash and leave you feeling lethargic and slow at the point when you need your brain most!
If you have created a last minute crib sheet with any final pointers, then save enough time to read it without dashing. Don't overdo it at this point, or the stress will overtake all the good preparation you have made. One good tactic to boost your confidence is to re-read key questions and answers that you suspect will come up. This will get your knowledge flowing and remind you of how much you know!
Preparations on the day
Leave early for the exam and allow plenty of time. Bring photo ID and stationery, along with a bottle of water. Remember that you won't be allowed your bag or phone with you at your desk during the exam, so don't carry anything valuable that you don't need. Use the bathroom beforehand so that you are comfortable during the exam.
If you feel nervous before you go into the room, try a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy, or a chamomile tea. A couple of drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue will also help to calm you naturally. Practise a calming mantra, reminding yourself 'I can do this' to generate lots of positive mental energy.
At the exam itself
Listen carefully to all instructions given by the exam invigilator and follow them carefully. Raise your hand if you need any assistance. Take a deep breath, take your time reading questions and don't rush. Remind yourself that you have worked hard, prepared well and are going to pass, and then wow the examiner with your performance!
Our Cambridge advanced exam evening courses run from 6:30 to 8:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. Our courses are designed to help students study the grammar, language skills and exam techniques required for the CAE exam.
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