Do's and don'ts the night before the exam
Stick to your routine
You might think that the night before the exam you should behave somewhat differently than you would normally do. This is totally not true. According to psychologists, following your own routines helps you perform better under any kind of conditions.
In other words, you are advised to do everything your own, already established way: eat your dinner at the same time as usual, watch a movie before sleep if you are used to it and go to bed not earlier or later than you go every day.
Remember that building a good routine helps you to take good care of your emotional and physical state.
Get a good night's rest
You might want to use the last opportunity to get ready for your exam and stay awake сramming for it all night. However, this will hardly do any good for you. Studies have shown that our brain consolidates memory during sleep, especially in the Rapid Eye Movement phase. Therefore, do not underestimate a good rest.
The amount of sleep a person requires is 8-10 hours but, of course, it varies from individual to individual. You know your needs best so try to satisfy them as good as possible. Otherwise, if you sleep less than 8-10 hours, you might feel exhausted in the morning and unable to perform well.
Sometimes thoughts about tomorrow’s exam wouldn’t let you relax and fall asleep for quite some time. In order to avoid these torturing thoughts, put away all of your devices (phones, tablets, etc.). This is because most of them use blue light, which restrains the secretion of melatonin (the hormone which makes us sleepy).
Have a good meal
If you study hard, you should be sorry for your brain as it loses so much power. Therefore, it’s important to feed it. Dietologists claim that a balanced diet is something we should have in order to achieve academic success.
If you prefer processed stuff and fast food to healthy, nutritious, whole foods, then you are likely to put additional burden on your brain. In this case, your brain can’t produce the necessary neurotransmitters, so it functions not as well as it would if you chose healthy eating.
In the lead-up to exams, eat more fresh foods and resist McDonald’s type of things, however mouthwatering they may look. Instead, go for skinless chicken or turkey, fish, fresh fruit, spinach, broccoli and other foods that are not only healthy but extremely tasty as well. This will help you remember more, have a longer attention span and eventually, will boost your energy and performance on the exam day.
Drink enough water
You might have noticed yourself that when you forget to drink enough water, you start experiencing a whole range of problems: headaches, sleep problems, forgetfulness, fatigue, etc.
“Mild dehydration can change your mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly. Keep a bottle of water nearby when studying, to ensure you are drinking enough.”- says Dr Skeffington. You should be prepared to drink 8-10 glasses (around 2 litres) of water before and on the exam day.
If you are tempted to buy and drink energy drinks like Red Bull, just read about them for a bit before it’s not too late. They have an opposite effect from what you expect. They will not help you stay cool-headed and full of energy but, on the contrary, will make you feel even more stressed after rewarding you with the initial energy burst.
Do some cardio
Doing some cardio is always a good idea since not only it helps you to keep fit but also relieves stress and anxiety.
Exercising will result in blood, oxygen and nutrients getting pumped to your brain and, eventually, improving your memory and problem-solving skills. If you are comfortable with going to the gym – feel free to do so. If not – you can simply go for a walk to the park or come up with any other way to make yourself move a little bit.
Prepare all of the stationary items (calculator, pencils, pens, etc.) you will need for your exam the night before.
Get up in the morning a bit earlier so you have time for breakfast and can get to the exam destination with ample time.
Don't stress yourself
Although, you may have been taught at school that exams are the only right indicator of what you are worth, remember that it’s not the be-all and end-all.
Even if you fail, there is a way out of every situation without any exception. You will still be able to continue following your dreams and try to get accepted for the studying program of your interest. It will just require a bit more of an effort from you. There are enabling courses that can qualify you for the studies you wish and other methods, which you can explore should the worst happen. Just stay positive and never give up.