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How you spend the night before an important exam, (be it theoretical or practical) can greatly impact how well you perform the following day. To help you achieve your full potential, the team at Steyns Culinary School has put together some pre-exam tips.

Stick to your routine

To maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it is crucial that you stick to your normal routine during exam time. This will not only help you achieve your academic potential but will help to instill good habits throughout the other stages of your life.

On the eve before your major exam, carry on as usual, eat dinner at the same time and go to bed when you normally would, and don’t miss out on watching your favourite show if it is on. Sticking to your routine will help and protect your physical as well as emotional health under pressure.

Get a good night’s sleep This is easier said than done. While you might be tempted to pull an all-nighter to cram for your exam, this might have the complete opposite effect. Research has shown that it is much harder to concentrate and retain information when we are tired. To perform well, it is recommended to get between 8-10 hours of sleep to feel fresh and rested the night morning. To ensure that you are not kept awake rolling around and mulling over the exams, it is best to not use your phone or laptop for about 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed.

Make sure you wake up Make sure you get to the exam early. Remember to set your alarm, if you are worried; set two! Ask a family member or friend to make sure you are up and getting ready.

Have a good laugh Do one fun thing like watching a comedy show, or your favourite movie, play with your dog or watch funny clips on social media. Laughter will relax you, lower your stress and help you get a good night’s sleep.

Eat a good meal What you eat fuels your brain, and a balanced diet helps with your mental energy and emotional regulation and helps you concentrate and helps with not only your mental energy, and emotional regulation but helps your concentration and fuels stimulate your memory. In the lead-up to the exam, make sure you eat plenty of fresh foods and avoid junk food. This will help you study for longer, remember more, help you think clearly, and perform much better on exam day.

We recommend some brain-friendly foods for dinner, which include fish and a selection of greens, including spinach, broccoli, and kale. On the morning of your exam, eat a healthy breakfast, which includes eggs, peanut butter, and fresh fruit.

Hydrate for the next day Drinking water and brain functions are directly linked. Aim to drink 8 to 10 glasses (2 liters) of water before the day. On the day of the exam, drink enough water but, don’t drink too much, a sip every hour is all you need. By drinking too much water, you will need to make a bathroom break often. A sip is just for a quick diversion to give your brain a breather Fit in some cardio Not only will exercising help your physical well-being, but it can also help your exam preparation, and relieve some (if not all) of the stress. This does not mean you have to go to the gym, something as simple as walking the dog or a quick swim, is enough to improve your memory and problem-solving skills.

Get organised Have all your pens, pencils, tools and utensils, and everything else you may need, for your exam ready the night before.

Don’t stress yourself out You might not think so now, but exams are not the be-all and end-all. They do not define you as a person, even if the worst occurs. Keep your eyes on the finish line, and enjoy the experience. Do what works for you Everyone is different, some people prefer being on their own around exams, while others blast music from their earphones. Do whatever puts you in the best frame of mind and you will be set up perfectly for your exams.

Steyns Culinary School is still accepting late registrations for the 2023 school year. Join us by contacting us at or on WhatsApp at 072 645 5167 and become part of the wonderful world of the culinary arts.


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