Exam Nerves‏‎

How To Teach English


Cheer up!

This is an article about Exam Nerves. You can print this out and use it with your class when they’re coming close to take an exam. Give a copy to each student so they can read it through at their leisure and prepare themselves.

What are Exam Nerves?

Some student get very nervous before they take an exam. They feel worried, they have butterflies in their stomach, they might feel sick as well. Some students may actually be sick and some others will get very angry for no reason.

What are the results?

Most students feel nervous before an exam. But some students get so nervous they can’t think straight. They will not be able to concentrate and this will make them even more nervous.

It is important, therefore, to be as calm as possible before and during the exam. This will help you perform better.

What can you do to feel less nervous?

Here are some good tips for keeping calm and writing a really good exam.

Before the exam

  • Be prepared – do as much reading as possible before the exam. It is better to read lots in the weeks before the exam rather than at the last minute.
  • Look at exam papers from previous years – this is so you know what the exam will look like, the kinds of questions and how much time you will have.
  • On the night before, prepare your bag. Make sure you’ve got all your pens and pencils, an eraser and anything else you need for the exam.
  • Important – remember to put in your bag your identification card or passport so that you have it for the exam.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the exam – have a good breakfast on the day and get to the exam centre early.
  • Don’t drink anything to “hype” yourself up – no coffee or fizzy drinks but just water or tea.
  • If you’re feeling very tense, do some physical activity to use up the adrenalin (go for a run, walk briskly to school).
  • Make sure that if you have any questions about the exam you ask your teacher.

In the exam room

  • If it is a Listening exam, make sure you sit where you can hear the cassette player. If you can’t hear it, tell your supervisor and ask to be moved.
  • Read through the exam and work out how many minutes you can spend on each question. Don’t go over this limit.
  • Make sure you answer ALL the questions you need to. Check this at the beginning of the exam and again at the end.
  • Start with the easiest question you can find. After you’ve finished this question this will make you feel better and you can go on to more difficult questions.
  • Again, if you have any questions make sure you ask the supervisor.

After the exam

  • Give yourself a treat. Go for a drink with your friends or buy a bar of chocolate. Make yourself feel good!

Useful Links

Teaching EFL Exam Classes – how to teach a class preparing for an exam

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