The process of assessing learning is a difficult one. One of the methods that has been used for a very long time is the giving of exams. Exams are a series of questions designed to determine the degree to which a skill or area of knowledge has been grasped by a student. The results of an exam are a reflection of both the ability of an instructor to impart knowledge and the willingness of the student to do the work necessary to gain a full understanding of that which is being imparted. By their nature, exams are a source of anxiety and stress. What are some suggested activities that a student should perform the night before an exam in order to be successful the next day?
Exams are designed to be an assessment of an individual’s mastery of a subject and not merely the ability to repeat back on a page material held in short-term memory. Preparation should take place along the way so that all that is necessary is to review what has already been learned. The study time the night before an exam should be minimal and occur as close to the time the person is going to bed as possible. Material that is gone over just before a person goes to bed will be thought over subconsciously as the person is transferring into deep sleep. Filling the mind with key material will give it something to meditate upon as the individual is falling into a deeper place of rest. Such meditation is a proven method of placing information into long-term memory which will then be available to be retrieved both the next day of the test and farther along when it may be needed in another context.
Getting a good night’s rest is absolutely essential to doing well on an exam the next day. Resisting the tendency to stay up late to cram for an exam is extremely important if the individual is to perform successfully the next day. As with any activity, the taking of an exam requires that a person be at peak efficiency and this can only be achieved by getting adequate rest.
Each person requires a different amount of sleep and that amount needs to be considered when devising a schedule for the night before an exam. The more that a person can keep on a regular schedule of sleeping and rising, the more likely that he or she will be able to perform well on the day of the exam. The more that a person has put in the work during the learning period, the less likely that the individual will feel the necessity of attempting to cram a lot of information into a small period the night before the exam and the better he or she will perform on the day that the exam is given.
Anxiety is the enemy of good preparation and good rest the night before an exam. Test anxiety is a real phenomenon. It involves both physical and emotional stress that occurs when a person is preparing to be tested and during the examination itself. A certain degree of anxiety is necessary in order to encourage the individual to do well. A person who does not care about an examination will likely make little effort to grasp the material and will usually do poorly on the examination.
A certain level of anxiety pushes the person to do well on the exam in order to avoid the negative consequences of failure. Genuine concern for being publicly shamed for doing poorly on an exam can be a positive force in encouraging hard work and good preparation. It is when anxiety become overwhelming that problems arise. If an individual is overly focused on his or her personal state of being then the material for a test will lose its place at the center of the place of concentration. Focusing on the exam as a means of achievement rather an opportunity for shame will put the mind in a better place for the next day.
The mind, like every other organ of the body, requires rest from time to time. While the brain never completely shuts off, there are times when it is used more than others. The day of an exam requires that the student’s mind be rested and ready to perform at high peak efficiency. To accomplish this, the night before an exam is a good time to give the brain a much needed rest.
One of the benefits of avoiding intense cramming is to give the mind the break it needs in order to be available at highest readiness on the day of the exam. Fun activities, particularly those of a physical nature, have two important results. By taking the person’s mind off of the exam, anxiety is reduced, and the brain is able to focus in other ways. In addition, by doing something of a physical nature, the body gets tired and ready for sleep at a reasonable time. Combined with this should be food and drink that are designed to induce rest and not to create increased energy. The focus should be on working toward a good kind of tired that results in going to sleep at a time that will allow the necessary rest in order to be ready for the next day.
Success on exams requires the right frame of mind and the proper physical condition. These come about as an individual does the proper preparation the night before. Going over material for the exam should be limited to a short review just before going to sleep. Focus should be on something fun that gives the brain rest and gets the body tired and ready for sleep at a good time. The student should look at the exam as an opportunity to show what he or she has learned and the night before should be a time of meditating on positive results and of achievement. When all these factors are taken together, the night before an exam will prepare a student to successfully pass an exam the next day.