HOME PAGE / BLOG / The Secrets to Exam Success
Last Update Date: 15 April 2021

Exams are a method for educational institutions to assess how well students understand and remember certain information. For a successful and stress-free exam period, students should prepare well in advance.

We recommend breaking the exam preparation process down into three stages.

what to do for exam success


Exams can be a significant source of stress for students. It’s important to begin your preparation with a positive mindset and not:

  • I study hard but I never do well in exams
  • I always forget what I know in exams
  • I don’t have enough time to study everything

Students should motivate themselves with confidence-boosting thoughts, and families and teachers should be supportive and encouraging of their studying habits. For example, to prepare for math kangaroo can be helpful because that test aims to make kids love math.

Here are our top three tips:

Create Study Plans: Cramming on the day before the exam will cause a significant amount of stress and will be mostly ineffective. Creating a study plan should alleviate this issue as it breaks the exam topics down into manageable chunks over a long period of time. We recommend making daily and weekly study plans and adjusting your goals based on your weekly progress and the exam date.

Take Practice Exams: Even if it's the 7 plus exam, 8 plus exam, 11 plus exam, or Kangaroo Math Competition, any exam that kids will take, students should take as many test papers as possible. For example, last years’ past papers are excellent to study. Take a look at Math Kangaroo Past Papers to prepare for other exams! It also helps with managing stress on the actual exam day, as students will be more familiar and confident about the type of questions and they’ll encounter in the exam.

It’s All About Balance: It’s not all about memorising new concepts, doing practice questions, and reading out of textbooks every day. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance — this means including physical sports and playtime into everyday life.

For students looking for games that still challenge their thinking, we recommend MentalUP, which is a fun app packed with gamified brain teasers and challenges. It can be played on-the-go via mobile phone or tablet, so it’s a great way to keep your mind sharp while waiting for the bus or running errands.

Developed by academics and education specialists, MentalUP is a scientific education app with an extensive library of fun exercises to challenge your thinking and problem-solving skills. You can learn and develop at the same time with MentalUP.

Get Started Now


Stop Studying: That’s right. Stop. By this point, you’ll have been studying hard for a long period of time and don’t want to risk burning out or overwhelming yourself at the last minute. It’s also unlikely you can cram any more information in at this point. It’s important to enter the exam with a positive mindset, so we recommend taking time off to socialise and relax right before the exam.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep: Go to bed on time to get a solid night’s sleep before the exam. This will ensure you’ll perform to the best of your ability the next day.

💡 TIP: Studies shown that mindfulness activities can help to boost kids academic success as well as increasing their focus skills. Indeed, it’s a great way to reduce exam stress, too.

Want more? We have a great parent guide to starting right away: Guide to Teaching Mindfulness to Kids 🧘‍♀️✨

Eat Properly: Eat healthy and brain-boosting meals, and try to avoid processed or junk food. We recommend fish (fish oil increases focus and attention spans), spinach (contains a high amount of potassium, which accelerates communication between synapses in the brain), walnuts (high in omega, which strengthens memory), and lots of water (staying hydrated helps your brain maintain its volume and improves concentration).


Read The Entire Exam First: Scan all the exam questions at the start. Quickly identify the easy and difficult sections, and ensure you allocate more time to those questions. Prioritise the questions that you’re confident you can solve fast.

Don’t Get Stuck: If you’re not sure how to answer a question, don’t waste too much time trying to solve it. Just skip it for now and move on to the next question. If you have time at the end of the exam, you can go back to these questions again.

Don’t Rush Your Answer: Read entire problems before rushing to write the answer. Often, you might miss small clues or be presented with misleading information. Make sure you thoroughly understand the problem first — this will save time in the long run and reduce any last-minute panic.