The day is here: exam timetables are out. You nervously check and see that on Tuesday you have not one exam… but two exams. But not to worry! This is not a test of how well you can multitask. And you’re not expected to draw up the world’s most complicated revision plan. Every year, this happens and most of your classmates will be in the same boat too. Having two exams in one day is not the end of the world.
Here are 5 tips to help you get through it…
- Panic a little… but then look at the silver lining.
- Tack a calendar on the wall above your desk.
- Set extra time aside for the trickier of the 2 subjects.
- Make time for free time!
- On the day
1. Panic a little… but then look at the silver lining.
Two exams scheduled on the same day can make you feel overwhelmed to say the least. You might be thinking: does everyone have two exams, or is it just me? Having two exams on the same day is actually really common, so you won’t be the only one. You can have a little panic to get it out of your system, and take a breather.
But believe it or not, there is a silver lining. It means you can cross off two exams instead of just one when you get home that afternoon. And as long as you plan out your revision ahead of time, you won’t have to sacrifice one exam for the other – which leads me to my next tip…
2. Tack a calendar on the wall above your desk.
I use a paper calendar when I put together my revision timetable. Tacking that calendar on the wall above your desk gives you a big picture view of exam season. Whip it up yourself with a biro, a ruler, and some highlighters. You can see the start and end dates–and that can help bring down stress levels because you know that exams are temporary. There’s an end to look forward to. But, I hear you asking – how do I actually plan my revision?
3. Set extra time aside for the trickier of the 2 subjects.
If you start revision early enough, time shouldn’t be a problem. By organising your time, you set yourself up for a confident exam season – with less stress and more success. But if you’ve left it a bit late, you’ve got some choices to make on how you spend your study time. Maybe you’d rather spend more time on the subjects you like the most. But when there are two exams in one day, I spend more time revising the subject I find harder.
4. Make time for free time!
Even the most motivated students need time off. If you’re the kind of student who plans their revision down to the minute, try to take a step back. Switching off is actually good for your brain. Breaks help with your attention span, they motivate you, and they’re good for your physical and mental health.
Think about how you actually spend your downtime, too. Plan for exercise, see friends, or even play a bit of Mario Kart 8 – whatever is going to help you relax, and get you moving.
5. On the day
On the day of the two exams, bring stress levels down by avoiding any last-minute cramming. Research shows that last-minute cramming doesn’t usually pay off for students. It might actually make you more anxious and affect how well you do.
But if you have a free hour between exams, you can look over flashcards or your cheat sheet, or play Quizlet games. This way, you get your brain in the zone for exam 2. Make sure you eat a healthy lunch too, so that you’ve got the fuel you need for the next lap.
Exams are hard enough as it is. And when there are 2 in 1 day, it’s easy to push the panic button. But if you plan ahead, and take lots of breaks, you’ll get through it. And then– you’re one step closer to the finish line.
Catherine Nock studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge. She graduated in 2019, and has been tutoring English and French.