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How to Prepare to Write an Exam

July 13, 2020

How to Prepare to Write an Exam

It’s entirely normal to be nervous before an exam, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything leading up to the day to ease some of that extra stress. There will probably never be such a thing as being 100% prepared, but it is possible to strive for something close to that and thereby removing as many anxiety-inducing uncertainties as possible.

Being prepared for an exam, whether you’re a distance student, taking a proctored exam, or a working professional getting a certification or licence, consists of more than studying for the test. Knowing how to prepare to write an exam before going to the exam testing centre on the day, can be just as important for your mental readiness. Take a look at these 9 ways you can prepare for your next exam.

1. Register for the exam far ahead of time

Plan your exam date a good amount of time ahead and register early on to enable you to receive the date and time which are most convenient for you. Exam testing centres in Vancouver can fill up quickly for certain dates and you might end up with an inconvenient timeslot or will have to choose a different date altogether if you wait too long.

Registering for your exam also gives you a final cutoff until when you have time to study, which can be a motivating factor. It will help you plan out your study schedule accordingly to make sure you’re ready by the time your exam date rolls around.

2. Visit the testing centre beforehand

Making sure that you visit the centre prior to writing the exam helps you get familiar with your surroundings and will put you at ease on the day. You can meet some of the staff, see the facilities, and orientate yourself with where things like the lockers and bathrooms are. This will help ease your nerves on the day of the exam since you’ll already know what to expect.

Also, take a look at the rules and regulations of the testing centre. While there are some common rules for testing centres in Vancouver, each centre (and even every exam) may have its own additional rules as well. For example, Ashton testing centre strictly follows the stipulations and regulations set out by the regulatory boards for each exam. The centre has also implemented additional safety rules in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

3. Research the exam and find practice tests online

Every exam is different and will consist of different components and requirements. It’s essential that you look up the requirements for your exam and prepare accordingly. Many accreditation bodies offer practice tests online that you can use to assess your progress and find areas that you may need to work on.

4. Take breaks and get properly rested

You can’t absorb information and remember it quite as well when you’re overworked or tired. That’s why taking breaks are just as important as studying. Get adequate rest the night before the exam too. Not only do you want to be alert and ready for your exam, but studies have shown that sleep also helps our brains process and remember what we’ve learned through the day.

5. Let test providers know about special necessities

If you require special accommodations in order to write your exam (for example an elevated desk, extra time), make sure that you apply to your test provider as soon as possible. Most accommodations have to be arranged beforehand at testing centres.

6. Arrive at the centre early

Give yourself enough time to relax and get mentally prepared before you head in for your test. You’ll also need to check in and go through the security procedures. You don’t want to end up being late for the test because these things take time and you can’t just rush through them - especially if it’s a busy day with other candidates waiting their turn.

Think of how you’re going to get to the centre as well. If you’re going to drive yourself then make sure there’s parking and know where you’re going to park. If you’re taking public transport then make sure it will get you to (or at least close to) the centre.

7. Take a deep breath and review the exam instructions carefully

This is probably the most common exam advice out there but it still rings true to this day. Taking a deep, relaxing breath before you get started helps for mental focus and decreases anxiety. By carefully reviewing all the exam questions, you’ll also avoid mistakes or confusion thereby avoiding stressing yourself out unnecessarily.

8. Report any issues early on

Report any issues with test centre equipment to the test centre administrator as soon as possible. Many of the exams taken at Ashton testing centre are on computers. While we take care to ensure everything’s working properly, rarely something may go wrong. So let your administrator know so they can help you sort it out as quickly as possible.

9. Come prepared to be there a while

If you’re going to be at the exam testing centre for several hours, then be sure to bring a snack and drink along, as well as any other necessary supplies. Most exam testing centres in Vancouver, including Ashton testing centre, have lockers where you can store any necessities that you can’t take into the exam room with you.

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