There are two parts to getting ready the night before your exam: emotional prep and logistical prep. Both are important.
Pack a go bag
The night before the exam, pack everything you’ll need in a bag. This includes:
All necessary identification
At least four sharpened No. 2 pencils
A watch that doesn’t make noise
A calculator with extra batteries (if calculators are allowed)
A bottle of water
Two snacks, each containing glucose
Complex thinking depletes glucose levels. Don’t eat candy bars or pure sugar, but pack something to restore your glucose levels, such as fruit, trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches, etc.
Know how to get to the test center
Make sure you know how to get to the test center and how long it will take.
Don’t study unless it makes you feel better
Conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t study the night before an exam because it can make you nervous. Instead, you should do something relaxing, like watching a movie. I agree with conventional wisdom for most students. However, some students won’t feel relaxed unless they study. These types should study a little, but stop at least an hour before bedtime.
Go to bed at your normal time
If you get enough sleep, you should go to bed at your normal time. Only if you’re sleep-deprived should you go to bed early.
You may have unpleasant thoughts the night before your exam. You may think you haven’t studied enough or that everyone is confident except you. Recognize that this is just anxiety. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you care about the exam (which is good). Let the thoughts go; there’s no need to examine them or debate their accuracy.
If you have difficulty letting the thoughts go, try the following: get a notebook and pen and set your alarm for five minutes. Then write out everything you’re thinking, stream-of-consciousness style. It doesn’t matter if it’s crazy or weird or in full sentences: no one will ever read it. Get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. When your five minutes are up, throw the paper away. You don’t need to read it.
Before you get into bed, tell yourself that you’re going to do well on your test. It will help.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be in great condition for your exam. To read what to do the morning of the exam, go here.
To your success!