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the exam room: what not to do

Procrastination is the universal skill of the uni student.

We get veeery good at inventing ways to pass time, especially when it means avoiding our obligations and deadlines. People who don’t clean their apartment all year will feel the sudden urge to clean everything immediately, come exam time. Amazing accomplishments are made at this time of year, as long as it’s not academic progress. I’m definitely guilty of this. I managed to clean my apartment, prepare my lunches for the week, go grocery shopping and organise my stationary – just because I had an essay due. And the procrastination doesn’t stop at home, we do it in the exam room too. Here are a bunch of things you definitely shouldn’t do in the exam room…



Glance at the clock

Yes, everyone does this. But there are two reasons to look at the clock in an exam room:

  1. If you’re rushing to finish an essay and you’re prioritising your time.
  2. If you’re wondering whether 5 minutes have passed since you looked at the clock 2 minutes ago.

If you’re constantly staring at the clock because you’re wanting time to pass faster, it’s going to slow the hell down, and it will be all your fault. The fastest way to get through an exam is to do the work and keep your head down. If you keep yourself busy with your exam you’ll notice the time flying. So just concentrate and you will be out before you know it.




Nothing will trip you up like unnecessary panic. If you get anxious before you’ve even looked at the questions, you need to chillax a little bit. It’s great to have nerves, it means you care, but don’t let them get run away with you. Getting upset and flustered won’t help, and in all likelihood everyone in the room feels the same way you do. Just take a deep breath and remember: it’s an exam, not a trial by fire.


you ^



Forget your student ID

Big mistake. Nothing is more stressful than leaving something crucial at home. Get your things together the night before and have it all in one safe location (usually exam rules allow things to be in a clear zip locked bag). Prepping the night before just reduces the risk of you forgetting something if you’re scrambling to get there in the morning. Think ahead 😉






Compare yourself to the person next to you

Just don’t do it. If the person next to you is whizzing through an essay and you’re just sitting there feeling stressed, it’s not going to help you. The same goes when you compare yourself to someone who is looking stressed or not concentrating at all. You’re distracting yourself with external factors for no reason at all. You can only do what you’re capable of doing, no one else matters in that moment.






Admittedly, I do this on the daily. But it can have a really bad impact on your result in an exam. Daydreaming can cut minutes off your time – time that could have been used to answer those last few questions, or go over your answers. It’s easy to daydream about how you’re going to relax when you get home, but now is not the time. The faster you get this exam done, the faster you’ll get to chill out. Stick to the task at hand and save the daydreams for when you’re done.





It’s safe to say that these are the things most likely trip you up in an exam. Do your best to stay on task – it will make time fly, and you’ll know you’ve put as much effort in as possible. Most of all, don’t stress. If you don’t feel you went well that’s fine, it’s one exam and you can always speak to your tutor or lecturer if you’re unhappy with your efforts. There may be other ways to improve on your grade. Just look after yourself and don’t let small distractions get in the way!



Good luck!

About the Author


Amy is the Content & Social Media Specialist with Campus Living Villages. She lived at UNSW Village for 4 years, so she knows a thing or two about moving out of home and starting life on-campus!