Skip to content

Toggle service links

Exam techniques: Settling down at your exam desk

Page 2 of 7

Once you're in your seat try not to look around. Your senses can be heightened by tension and can fasten on irrelevant details such as what other students are doing or wearing. Try a visualisation of a relaxing scene or relax using breathing exercises.

Coping with exam demands

Settling down

You may find it useful to plan the way you'll start your exam. Having a routine can be calming when under pressure. This student recommends a checklist.

I have a mental checklist of what I need to do once I've turned over the paper. I do this because I used to rush in and answer the first question that looked at all familiar. I tended not to plan and so the facts were all jumbled. My checklist makes me stop and think.

Exam stress can arise for many different reasons. If you're susceptible then read the article Managing stress and listen to the relaxation exercises. Use them in the exam hall and you should improve your chances of success.

Although you can’t turn over the paper until the invigilator tells you to start, do make sure that the exam paper on your desk is the correct paper for your module and that the instructions all make sense to you. If any instruction is unclear, raise your hand to check with the invigilator before the exam time starts.

You can also get more answer booklets from the invigilator. Some modules ask you to use more than one answer booklet because parts of the exam are marked separately, so follow the instructions in the question paper.

Other students

On the day of the exam there are students from other modules in the same room. Some may be taking exams of different lengths so will leave at a different time. A number of exams allow certain module materials to be used, so there may be students with books on their desk. Once the exam has started don’t worry about what other people do. Some of them will start writing immediately but concentrate on your own exam and take the approach that works best for you.

If something goes wrong in the exam

If you arrive late or are taken ill during the exam, speak to the invigilator, who will tell you what to do. See the Special Circumstances - exams or EMAs page and its related help links or the Assessment Handbook for details of how to report special circumstances to the Module Result Panel.

Page 2 of 7