I dealt with two exam double-ups in Year 12, and you might be facing something similar. There are hundreds of students grappling with the concept of two exams in one day right now.
The thing is, it isn’t as bad as you may think. If you come in prepared, getting two of your exams done at once can even be beneficial! It certainly takes a lot of the pressure off all in one go. The key is having a game plan. Here are my best tips for dealing with two exams in one day.
If you have two exams in one day, you need to really carefully plan out how you will use your time in the days leading up to those exams. On the day before, ideally, you only work on those two subjects.
Now this can be tricky, especially if you have an exam the day after your double (gross), so take this with a grain of salt. But there is nothing worse than getting to the day before your double up, and realising that you’ve spent all your time on the really difficult exam, and then nothing on the other. Plan your study and consider how much time you need to prepare for each exam.
By all means, you might not put the same effort into the two exams in one day. For me, I invested way more time in English than I did in other subjects. Allocate time to both exams the way that suits you. Don’t be left cramming because you forgot about the afternoon exam.
This much should be obvious for everyone, but it is especially relevant if you have two exams in one day.
If you have two exams in one day, that’s potentially a full day at work doing some serious intensive mental flexing.
You need to look after your brain so it can perform for you on the day.
There are a few things you must do here. Getting a good night sleep is absolutely vital; if you need to be switched on for 8 hours, you need to switch off for 8 hours the night before. Eat a good breakfast, try and stay relaxed, keep yourself in a good way. And that leads me to my next point…
This is really important. Exams are draining; mentally and physically. Two exams in one day doubles that effect. You come out of exams in a bit of a stupor, definitely not as fresh as when you came in. Do you want that dazed, exhausted and confused version of yourself responsible for getting a good mark in your exam? No, of course not.
You must rest between your exams.
I know it can be super tempting to cram in that 1 to 2-hour break between the two papers. Trust me, I get it. But the fact is that the little bit of extra content you may absorb isn’t worth the energy that you will lose between the two exams. Working too hard in the interim will suck all your energy away, and you run the risk of burning out in your second exam.
For this reason, I strongly recommend to everyone who has two exams in one day that you shouldn’t be doing practice papers in that gap. Grab lunch with some mates if you can, let the stress of your first exam fall away. Recharge the batteries.
Now I’m not saying no study at all! By all means, read over your notes. Use palm cards. Even doodle some rough calculations. But you need to keep yourself chilled out. The key here is to get yourself out of exam mode, recharge, and then re-enter exam mode for your second paper.
It is practically impossible to stay completely switched on through the entirety of two exams. You can try, but you’ll never be as fresh in that last hour of the last exam, when your hand is sore and your head is throbbing, as you would have been if you let yourself rest.
So, take a load off when you have two exams in one day. An hour and a half is heaps of time to run and get lunch. Then, just come back and chill out with your mates and read over your notes. Be optimistic in this gap! Relax! Give your brain the rest that it needs.
Some people may even choose to head home in the gap! I lived pretty far, so not an option for me, but I love this idea. The key to the break is, again, getting yourself out of exam mode. Heading home and having some lunch and a break is perhaps the best way to do this! If you have the option, go for it, but don’t be stressing about traffic and getting back in time. Only do it if you are close, and don’t head home just to study.
I’ll say it again; get yourself out of exam mode. Relax, do some light study, but chill out. It’s the best thing for you mentally, and it will make sure you’ve got the energy to smash that second exam.