How I Jumped from B-Minus to an A-Minus in Math

Let’s get one thing straight here: I love math.

It’s my absolute favourite subject, the questions always get me thinking (I love thinking!) and the logic of it all.

However, I’m the worst at working under-pressure –when it comes to academics, that is. My parents count on me a little too much there.

I believe I’ve uncovered the study “technique” that works for me, and would like to share it with others who might share my problem. It may work, it may not. But it can’t hurt for you to try, right?

The thing is, though, it sure doesn’t work for everybody. So please use this with caution. 🙂 I advise for you to not “experiment” if the next set of exams determine your life. O_O

Then again, it’s totally up to you. xD

This is ideal if:

  • In exams, you always run out of time/are the last one to finish/never get to double-check your answers. But you know all the material. And you’re sure that, if you had the entire day to do this exam, you’d  ace it.
  • You have pressure on you (parents, overachieving siblings, future careers, finals, etc)
  • You work better when you’re not under pressure.
  • Negative thinking/anxiety seems to overrule you on the day of the exam.

I also used this very technique for science. I suck at science, but got a B-plus overall (best this year!) so I’m pretty proud of myself. 🙂

You will need:

  • A couple of weeks before your exam. Ideally. Can be longer (better) or a little shorter (it doesn’t really matter) but at least a couple of weeks.
  • A stopwatch you can carry into your exam hall (mine’s in my watch)
  • A clear understanding of what you have been learning this term. This is essential. You must feel that, if you were given the entire year to complete a test, you would ace it. If not, keep studying until you reach this point.
  • YouTube access
  • Practice exams, chapter reviews (photocopies, not the entire textbook) or whatever worksheet is relevant to your subject.

* * *

Preparing for the exam:

1. Watch these videos. 🙂

After you watch them, follow their steps. Think about what they’re saying and keep everything in mind –take notes if you must.

2. Revise excessively two weeks before the exam.

Revise, revise, revise –learn new material, make sure you understand everything. When it gets to around one week before the exam, stop. It sounds crazy, but stop.

3. By now, you should know everything like the back of your hand.

Don’t study anymore. If you’re doing math, have the formulas down, with science, have very keypoints down. Take about 1-2 minutes of that week to scan over your notes to refresh your memory, but don’t digest any new material –you should’ve studied so excessively before, it shouldn’t matter.


Before the exam:

4. Don’t have the exam in mind.

Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the exam date, take sweets/lollies before the exam because they stimulate your brain and eat a balance breakfast (and maybe lunch, depending on when your test is).


During the exam:

5. Make sure you have these items.

Take a bottle of water, a stopwatch (preferably on your watch), a calculator (extra batteries are always encouraged), pencil case with at least three pencils/pens, depending on what you’d rather use, spare paper (you may have to ask for it).

6. Before the test begins, drink water.

This will help calm the nerves beforehand. Drink as much as you want, and continually keep drinking.

7. When the teacher instructs, start the paper and your stopwatch.

You will have an idea of how much time has elapsed. Why is this important? Because you can monitor exactly how long (approximately) it’s taking you. This also enables you to make mini goals in your head (“I will finish this question before the stopwatch reaches 45:13”) and you can tell when you’re stuck/spending too much time on a question.

After the exam:

8. Reflect.

Did it go well? Could you have done it better? If you could go back, what would you change? Write this down somewhere. Or maybe Blog about it/type it on your computer and save it.

This is important because by your next exam, details of your last one will be hazy. If you look back on this reflection, you’ll refresh yourself immediately.


I used this strategy in my last set of exams. Instead of being the last one out (which I always am) I ended up the first one. No joke.

And that concludes my guide on exams and anxiety! It may help you or it may not. But it definitely worked for me. 🙂


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