5 Things Not To Do Before Exams

Exam periods can be extremely stressful for students, and letting the stress get to you can negatively impact your grades. While it’s important to know what to do in preparation for an exam, it’s also equally important to know what not to do before an exam. Luckily, to help you out, the expert exam notes writers at Ivory research have listed their top tips for what to avoid doing before an exam:

Do an all-nighter

While it may be tempting, particularly if you think you haven’t revised enough, staying up all night before an exam is by far the worst thing you could do. Even if you think you don’t know enough to do well in your exam, staying up and attempting to revise all night will do you far more harm than good. Revision experts advise that after you stay up past a certain point, your brain will no longer be able to absorb information, so your efforts will essentially be pointless as your brain needs sleep to consolidate information and memories. Doing an all-nighter will also drastically reduce your chances of functioning at an acceptable level during the exam, and will undo all the hard work you’ve done.


Even if you’re not doing an all-nighter, cramming is still a bad idea. Many students ignore the advice from their professors and parents regarding cramming, but the experts from Ivory Research ensure us that this is definitely a bad idea – cramming drastically reduces your brain’s ability to process and store information. You’re far better off spending some time prioritising your revision and your time accordingly; making sure you split your revision into short intervals over a longer period of time. Better yet, start revising as early as possible and you will able to get everything covered without having to worry!

Skip breakfast

Your parents have probably been telling you this ever since you were old enough to sit your first exams, however take it from the experts – mum and dad were right! Eating a healthy, nutritious breakfast before an exam is crucial as it allows you to increase your productivity, alertness, problem-solving skills and mental clarity. The experts recommend a combination of slow-release carbohydrates (energy), such as porridge oats or muesli; a protein, such as milk, yoghurt or eggs; and a piece of fruit, ideally an apple or some blueberries. Definitely avoid high-sugar breakfasts – this will slow you down rather than speed you up!

Overload on caffeine

This may be a bit of a shocker for a lot of university students, considering how so many depend on caffeine to get through their day-to-day routine, and particularly during exams. However, the revision notes experts from Ivory Research advise that caffeine needs to be either avoided entirely or strictly limited. Avoid coffee the night before and limit yourself to only one on exam day – anymore and you will likely ‘crash and burn’ half way through your exam. And energy drinks are just a definite no – the large doses of caffeine and sugar will increase your adrenaline levels, making you more stressed and less focused.

Be unprepared

This is another thing your parents and teachers have probably been telling you since primary school, but never underestimate the importance of being organised! There are lots of things you can do to prepare for your exam: prepare your equipment, make sure you have enough time in the morning so that you don’t have to rush, know where and when your exam is, remember to bring a water bottle to your exam, arrive early, and make sure you bring a jumper as exam halls are usually cold! While all these little things are practically important, being organised and prepared will also help reduce anxiety and stress, increasing your productivity during revision and the exam itself.

So if you want to ace your exams, make sure you take this advice from the experts – it’s got rave reviews!