There are so many guides that give advice on how to prepare for an exam, or how to keep your cool during the test itself. But have you ever given any thought to what you should do after an exam? Most people either spend their time obsessing over how they did or take a very long nap and ignore all other responsibilities. But there are better things you can do after your exam that will hopefully leave you feeling more satisfied. Without further ado, here’s our list of 5 Dos and Don’ts for that strange period of time after an exam.
1. Do: Calm Down
The adrenaline rush you get while taking an exam is no joke. Any nerves you have beforehand combined with the constant pressure of finishing in time can really kick up your heart rate! If your exam is a few hours long, this can get pretty exhausting. It’s pretty common to feel a bit dazed while walking out of the exam room. After the initial shock wears off, you may be mentally and physically drained as well. It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re under this much stress! Take some deep breaths, have some food and water, and just chill for a little while. Maybe do some stretches if your muscles are cramped or tense from sitting in the same position for hours. Only once you feel like you’re back to normal should you start planning what to do next.
2. Don’t: Obsess Over Your Performance
Checking your study notes after an exam is akin to stalking your ex on social media. It won’t do you any good. There’s no going back and changing your answers, so you’re not doing yourself any favours by making yourself feel bad about the questions you missed. This also applies to chatting with others about the exam. In the same way that it’s never a good practice before an exam, it isn’t always the best thing to do afterward as well. Unless both of you found the exact same sections difficult, there’s a good chance that at least one of you will leave the conversation feeling even worse about their performance. The best thing you can do is try to let it go. The worst part is behind you, so try your best to move forward!
3. Do: Reflect on How You Can Improve
While there is no purpose in obsessing over answers you can’t change, there are benefits to reflecting on what you can change about your exam-writing habits going forward. The key here is to focus on what will help you for future exams, not beating yourself up about specific mistakes. So for example, maybe you didn’t manage your time very well and couldn’t complete the last page of the exam. A strategy going forward would be to make a quick schedule at the beginning of the exam and stick to it. Or it could be something as simple as forgetting to eat breakfast and having to deal with your grumbling stomach while writing the exam. Make a list of these things you can improve on and put them into action next time! Likewise, take a minute to acknowledge everything you did well. Maybe you totally kept your cool when you didn’t know the answer to a question right away. That’s worth at least a pat on the back!
4. Don’t: Burn Your Study Notes
While it’s extremely tempting to destroy the physical embodiment of everything you stressed over for months, it might end up doing you more harm than good. One obvious reason to keep your notes, especially if they’re detailed and organized, is if you’ll be taking a related course in the future. Many classes build upon skills and knowledge developed in previous years. If you have a tendency to forget everything the minute you leave the exam room, it’s a good idea to keep your notes for a quick refresher when the time comes to take a similar class. If you know you won’t be taking another math class, your notes on say, the Pythagorean Theorem, still might serve a purpose. You can always share your notes with others, (or sell them if you’re not feeling particularly generous). Friends, younger siblings, and even strangers might need a little extra help understanding the exact same material you made notes on, so why not give them a hand?
5. Do: Treat Yourself!
Even if you have another exam you have to start studying for, take some time to treat yourself for getting through this one! You worked hard, you tried your best, and most importantly you made it out the other side. So even if it’s something small, give yourself a reward! Maybe it’s taking a relaxing bath, watching an episode of a show, or just adding extra whipped cream on your drink. Dealing with the stress of exams is no easy task. It can often take a severe toll on the mental health of students. So do whatever you can to make it easier on yourself! Remember, you’re not a studying machine- you deserve breaks and rewards along the way. Plus, if you plan out rewards beforehand, they will act as an incentive to keep studying!
If you’re in the midst of exam season right now, all of us at Fuzzable wish you the very best of luck! We hope these tips will help you make the best of your time after an exam.
Be sure to check out how to make an exam survival kit for your loved ones!
Do you have any post-exam rituals? Would you follow any of these tips? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @Fuzzable!