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what not to do before an exam

It’s 2am in the morning, you’ve got 6 textbooks open and you’re a few energy drinks down. Have you checked your pulse? It’s probably racing, and not in a good way. Last-minute cram sessions before an exam are seldom a good idea.

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Your stress levels are bound to go up, but not necessarily your grades. Unless, of course, you study these top tips when it comes to pre-exam dos and don’ts…

Big no-no: cramming

Don’t study a semester’s worth of work in one day. Information overload is an actual thing. There’s no way you can absorb that much detail in such a short space of time.
Do create a study timetable and commit to going over your notes well ahead of exam week. By the time you have to study, you’ll be feeling less anxious and you’ll find that you have a clearer understanding of your work and can remember most of it.

Big no-no: burning the midnight oil

Don’t forget to sleep. You may not get a full 8 hours but aim to get close to it. During exams you (and your brain) need all the rest you can get.
Do take advantage of the benefits of a good night’s sleep. You’ll be less stressed, more alert and your mood and memory will improve.

Big no-no: studying the morning of the exam

Don’t gamble on the last few minutes before an exam to cram in more work. Studying right before an exam is not ideal in terms of retaining information. Your stress levels will rise, and your confidence will plummet.
Do prepare well in advance. Set aside time every day to read over your work, join a study group or make a date with a classmate to go over your notes. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Big no-no: asking what other people have studied

Don’t ask your classmates what they concentrated on. Particularly not on the morning of the exam! If you missed a section, you’ll feel ill-prepared, and you may lose confidence in all the work you did put in.
Do find a quiet spot to gather yourself. Have a sip of water and do some simple breathing exercises to destress. Try the 4-7-8 technique, which involves breathing in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling forcefully through your mouth for 8 seconds. Preparation is king, but keeping calm is also key to acing an exam.

Big no-no: procrastination

Don’t get distracted. If you’ve set time aside to go over your notes, go over your notes. Don’t check social media, don’t browse Pinterest, don’t ‘quickly check something’ on YouTube.
Do set achievable goals and deadlines and work towards them. If you’re struggling to stay focused, break up your study time into manageable chunks. If you spend 20 minutes reading or making notes, reward yourself with a 5-minute break and use it to take a quick walk or make a cup of tea.

Don’t stress, move to Capitec

Worry about one less thing when you move to Capitec. You’ll pay a low admin fee of R5 a month. And, don’t forget, you can use our banking app to record your actual spending.

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