Exam performance

You have done the study, but how can you be sure to enter the exam hall ready to perform at your best?

Quality sleeping is one of the best things that you can do to improve exam performance. Sleeping too little or even too much isn’t good and it’s not just the number of hours you sleep but it’s also the quality of your sleep.

Aim for seven to eight hours of deep, restful sleep each night and make certain you do this the night before your exam. Try and fall asleep earlier in the night. Every hour you sleep before midnight is equivalent to two hours of sleep after midnight, so the adage ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise’ is certainly accurate.

Studies have shown that certain foods boost brain activity and performance. It is important to feed your body a healthy diet, consisting of high‑fibre foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries and dark, leafy vegetables which boost brain function. Lean protein like chicken, tofu and eggs and Omega-3 rich foods like walnuts, salmon and olive oil also have been shown to boost brain activity, retention and performance.

Exercise promotes concentration, which will help you on exam day. It doesn’t matter what you do, but move your body every day for 30–60 minutes. If you enjoy running, swimming, dancing, yoga… just do it! There are so many incredible benefits to exercise, such as strengthening your muscles and flexibility, and it makes you feel good, too, through the release of the ‘happy hormone’, serotonin.

It’s very tempting to spend a lot of time on social networking sites and get easily distracted by other people, but you need to be protective of your time and emotion leading up to your exams. Keep focused on yourself, and limit your distractions of anyone or anything that makes you feel bad, is meaningless or unnecessarily occupies your mind in an unhealthy way.

"Every hour you sleep before midnight is equivalent to two hours of sleep after midnight, so the adage ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise’ is certainly accurate."