The Final Countdown: 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam

What should do the night before your SPM trial exam? Burn the midnight oil or take a time out? Fret not! Here are 8 tips to help you through.

Updated 05 Mar 2019

The Final Countdown: 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - Feature-Image

After a year of tension and trepidation, we’re finally down to the final few hours before your SPM trial exam begins!

If you’re curious about what you should do the night before your exam, read on for our 8 tips on how to get yourself in tip-top shape for your SPM trial exam in the morning!

#1. Learn to relax

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 1 Learn to relax

You might feel a little flustered the night before your exam, especially with all the information you have to remember. However, this makes it important to learn how to relax!

Consider doing some breathing exercises to stay calm. You’d be amazed at what 10 minutes of deep breathing can do to soothe your nerves! There are free apps which you can download on your phone that will guide you through some simple exercises. Alternatively, you can turn to YouTube for guided meditation.

So stay calm! You will only be tested on what you have been taught so it’s not the first time you are reviewing these materials. Working yourself into a flurry of panic will only diminish your focus and affect your ability to recall information during your exam.

#2. Make a list

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 2 Make a list

One of the things you should do the night before your exam is to make a to-do list. 

Start by listing down the topics you have yet to cover or those that you would like to go through in more depth. This helps to reduce your workload into bite-sized chunks so you aren’t overwhelmed.

In addition, it’s also good to organise your checklist by importance and assign time estimates to each task. This allows you to prioritise better and ensures that you are realistic with how much revision you can complete. Furthermore, a checklist gives you a sense of accomplishment when you tick each item off your list.

#3.  Skip the textbooks

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 3 Skip the textbooks

Yeah, you heard us right. It’s the night before your trial exams. Now is not the time to re-read your textbooks! Instead, review what you have studied from memory. This is also known as retrieval practice.

For example:

  • Identify the examinable chapters
  • List down the main concepts within each chapter
  • Elaborate the main concepts in point form
  • Look through your notes to see if you have missed out on anything

You could also turn this into a summary sheet to review in the morning.

Another suggestion is to have someone test you on key points, formulas or definitions, and even skim through questions to see if there is something you aren’t familiar with. If there is, don’t freak out! There is still time for you to re-learn what you’ve forgotten.

#4. Take a break from studying

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 4 Take a break from studying

Say what? Once you’ve come to the end of your to-do list and feel like you’re suffering from an information overload, stop studying for the night. Cramming will only exhaust your brain and it is unlikely you will retain this new information in the morning anyway.

Yayasan Telekom Malaysia scholar Khayell Balamurali says she would go through her short notes the night before an exam and revisit questions she could not answer previously. However, she stops when she’s tired as she would not be able to concentrate fully.

#5. Let’s get physical

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 5 Let’s get physical

Yes. Amidst your hectic exam preparations, we’re encouraging you to get some exercise.

You might think, “I can barely hold my own head up and you want me to do push-ups before my exam?!”

No, keep it simple! Studies suggest that 30 minutes of cardio pumps extra blood to your brain, nourishing it with chemicals that improve memory, problem-solving and decision making functions.

You could take a brisk walk outside your house or dance to some music in between studying to wake your brain up and boost momentum when hitting the books.

You can also opt to do some light exercise such as yoga before bed to calm your nerves. This type of low-intensity physical activity will tire you out (in a good way!) and reduce your stress levels for a more fulfilling sleep.

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#6. Pack it in

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 6 Pack it in

Into your bag we mean. Pack what you need for tomorrow’s exam the night before to avoid forgetting anything important the next day.

Here’s a quick list for you to check off:

  • Stationery (pens, pencils, a ruler, a pencil sharpener and an eraser)
  • Water bottle
  • Watch or a small clock
  • Exam-specific material (e.g. non-programmable calculator, geometric kit)


: Since Sejarah Paper 3 is an open book exam, remember to pack your Form 4 and Form 5 history textbooks into your school bag before sleeping.

#7. Catch some z’s

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam- 7 Catch some z’s

Forget about all-nighters. It’s the day before your trial exams, and you’ve got one last thing to do before tomorrow — get a good night’s sleep.

It might surprise you to know that the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is 10 hours. If you’re staring at the screen incredulously, just hear us out.

A recent study demonstrated that a person’s cognitive performance significantly reduces after less than 6 hours of sleep in one night. The results also showed that the subject’s performance deteriorated by 4 times when they had multiple nights of insufficient sleep!

With some of you taking up to 12 subjects, the last thing you want is to feel lethargic and burnt out before your exam. A restful night will ensure that your mind is refreshed and energised. This will help you apply your knowledge to the questions you are confronted with.

#8. Set an alarm

The Final Countdown- 8 Things to Do the Night Before Your SPM Trial Exam - 8 Set an alarm

Or 5. This is a no-brainer but you would be surprised at the number of horror stories there are on narrowly-missed exams due to a treacherous alarm clock or an untrustworthy wake-up call.

If you’re a serial alarm-snoozer, it might be worth getting a parent or a friend (or both!) to check that you’ve woken up in time for school in the morning. Whatever it is, make sure to have a backup plan.

Exam season means you already have 99 problems and being late shouldn’t be one of them.

That’s it, folks! In summation, remain focused and utilise your time wisely when preparing for your SPM trial exam. However, pull the brakes once you’ve prepared enough. Come morning, remember to keep calm, trust yourself and give it your best shot!

Do you still have some time left before your SPM trial exams start? Here are 5 study tips to help you through one of the most harrowing times of the year!

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    Kamini Senthilathiban

    Kamini Senthilathiban

    Self-proclaimed pun-meister 6000. Kant stop, won't stop.