Tackling exam mind blanks with six simple tips

Written by Christina Nelson


It is that time of semester again … the mid-semester slump.

But there is good news as we are now past the halfway point!

You may have already had your mid-semester tests, or you have them to look *forward* to after the break. Regardless, we want to tackle those end-of-semester exams with confidence – and may all the late nights be worth it.

For many, exams are a headache and the thought of them makes you feel sick in your stomach.

Perhaps you have experienced the feeling where your mind freezes during an exam? Or where you just cannot recall why DNA is described as a double helix?

Hopefully these six tips might help:

  1. When you are studying for an exam try not to always study in a relaxed environment but instead place yourself in situations where it might mimic the exam setting
  2. Preparation is your friend. Look at practice exam papers. DO NOT memorise an answer but instead focus on key words and/or concepts
  3. Try revising key concepts out loud. It has been shown that this may help with recall instead of solely relying on writing/typing note
  4. Understand that there are many potential causes for mind blanks such as, anxiety, stress, and tiredness. Try to understand what causes your mind blanks so that you are better equipped
  5. To overcome mind blanks – pause and try to gather your thoughts. Instead of looking down at your exam paper, look up. Looking up instead of down has been shown to improve the ability to recall information. It has certainly helped me on occasion!
  6. There is no such thing as the right word. Sometimes we suffer mind blanks as we are trying to recall the exact phrase or word we used during study. Learn alternative ways of the same concept


And remember, mind blanks do not last. Keep calm and fill in the blank. See, you are writing again!


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