Exam season is upon us and while it’s easy to get overwhelmed with revision, flashcards, and note-taking, it’s important to remember to pack your essentials the night before.
Obviously, the things listed are dependent on your school’s exam policies, exam conditions and the type of exam you’re taking but here are ten things I always take with me into exams.
- 2B Pencil. The majority of my Psychology core subject exams are multiple choice and use Scantron sheets, so I’m required to use a 2B pencil. Even if your exam is an essay style, make sure you bring a pencil – you never know when you’ll need it!
- A blue or black pen. Even when you’re doing multiple choice exams, you need a pen. It’s a requirement at my school to fill out attendance slips in pen, so I always make sure to have one handy. Also, if you’re known to make a few errors in exams, considering using a Pilot Frixion pen! They’re erasable and super nice gel pens to write with.
- Eraser. If you’re using a pencil, this is obviously a necessity. Make sure you use one that doesn’t have writing all over it, though, otherwise it will be confiscated by the exam invigilators!
- Highlighter. I personally take a single highlighter with me in exams, both multiple choice, and essay question exams and if we’re allowed to note-take during reading time, I highlight key words in questions. E.G ‘Which of the following is incorrect?’, I’d highlight incorrect. This helps save time as when I’m doing the exam I can pinpoint the keyword and I won’t answer the question incorrectly by accidentally not reading it appropriately.
- Water Bottle. Exams are long, even when you finish early and whilst there’s normally water available upon request, I find it so much easier to bring one into the exam with me. Trust me, there’s nothing worst than trying to focus on your exam with a dry mouth and a serious thirst.
- Tissues. Last week, during two of my exams, I was sick and thankfully had the foresight to bring some tissue with you. I had to take mine out of the little packet and have them checked by an invigilator but it was so much easier than having to put my hand up every two seconds to ask for a tissue!
- Gum. I know there’s some sort of science behind using a certain gum flavour to study and then chewing it in the exam but I haven’t ever tried that method. I personally chew gum in exams because I’m an anxious over-thinker and chewing gum gives me a grounding point. When my mind goes crazy during reading time, I can take a second to breathe, focus on the chewing and get myself back on task.
- Lip balm. Maybe it’s just me but I absolutely hate dry, chapped lips. It’s a completely uncomfortable feeling that I cannot stand, so I always carry lip balm with me!
- Phone. Obviously, you can’t use this in your exam but it’s definitely handy for beforehand! I make sure to take a photo on my phone of my seat assignment so if I do forget, I don’t have to push my way through the mass of people in the waiting hall. I also use it to distract myself, either by playing games, watching youtube videos or listening to music (or if I’m really unprepared, read over lecture notes, study some flashcards on the quizlet app or listen to lectures!)
- A watch. Sometimes your stuck in a massive hall and you’re a mile away from the clock, having a watch on you is great for when you can’t see the clock (or in my case, you just have super bad long distance eyesight!) and need to know how much longer you have before the final five minute call out shocks you!
I’ve got my bag all ready and packed with these ten essentials for my exam this afternoon! Good luck to everyone sitting their end of semester exams and finals and let me know in the comments below what you take with you into exams!