You know that feeling when you’re sitting in a middle of an exam, trying to think of a clever thesis for the essay portion of the test, and all you can think about is how ______ (thirsty/hungry/cold/etc) you are? Luckily, I’m here to list off all the things you should be bringing to your exam so that you can skip the fill in the blank fun above and focus on acing that final!


Water is by far the most important thing you can bring with you to your exam, except maybe a pencil (but you can always borrow one of those). Your brain is 75% made of water, so when if you’re dehydrated, how can you expect it to run full force and kill your chem. final? Fill a water bottle the night before your exam and stick it in the fridge so you can grab it on your way out the door. After you fill your water bottle, throw some cash in your bag in case you happen to forget your bottle in the fridge, you can buy an emergency bottle of water on campus before you exam! Even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to sip the water throughout your exam to keep your brain 100% focussed and help you remember all the facts you’ve been cramming into your head all year.

A Snack

Find out if you’re allowed to bring food into the exam. If you can, definitely opt to bring a snack. I know a lot of people say they can’t eat when they’re writing an exam because they’re too nervous, but if you’re sitting through a 3 or 4 hour exam, your blood sugar is going to start to dip, making it difficult to stay as awake and focussed as you need to be. Bring a snack that’s high in protein and carbs, because they’ll break down slowly in your body and keep your blood sugar elevated. Find a snack that you can eat quickly so you don’t have to lose time noshing. Granola bars, fruit bars, whole fruit (like a banana, apple, pear), and cheese strings are all quick and easy snacks you can throw in your bag the morning of the exam. Your body (and grades) will benefit.

A Watch

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of girls don’t wear watches anymore. We are all so dependent on our cells for keeping track of time that watches have become little more than another pretty bracelet. However, since you can’t have any electronics in the class, and not every exam room had a clock, a watch is an essential item to put in your exam tote. Knowing the time will keep you from freaking out and thinking you don’t have enough time, or from not finishing in time because you get too comfortable. Look at the exam and divide up the section by their worth, then spend the appropriate amount of time on each section. For example, if the first part of the exam is worth 20% and you have 2 hours to write the whole exam, try not to spend more than 24 minutes on that part.

A Sweater

It may be springtime, but between A/C, unexplained drafts, and open windows, you may end up in an exam room that is distractingly cold! Pack a light sweater to throw on if this happens, and you’ll be guaranteed to be the envy of every other shivering girl in the room. On the flipside, don’t wear a shirt that is too warm and can’t be removed, in case you find yourself in a stuffy and humid room. Check out my post on What to Wear to an Exam for the perfect outfit for any exam room.

Extra Gum or Mints

Chewing gum or having a mint can help keep your focus and reduce exam anxiety. Some studies suggest that chewing gum can improve concentration and cognitive performance. So, pop a piece of gum or a mint before or during the exam to keep your mind sharp and stay relaxed.

A Tampon or Pad

Unexpected surprises can happen, and you don’t want to be unprepared during an exam. Packing a tampon or pad in your bag ensures you’re ready for any situation, preventing discomfort or distraction during the test. Having this backup can give you peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate fully on acing the exam.

Highlighter or Colored Pen

Having a highlighter or colored pen handy can be useful for marking essential points, instructions, or keywords in the exam paper. Using a different color can help you quickly identify and revisit the crucial parts during the review, saving you valuable time and making your test-taking more efficient.


Allergies, colds, or even exam stress can cause a runny nose or watery eyes. Carrying a pack of tissues in your bag can be a lifesaver in these situations. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you’ll also avoid any awkward sniffles or distractions during the exam.

The Essentials

Of course, all of these items would be useless without the essentials you need for every test. Make sure you bring more than one pencil, along with a sharpener and an eraser, as well as pens. Check what else you may be allowed to bring, like rulers or calculators, with the prof beforehand. Don’t forget to ask if there is anything special you need to bring, like your I.D. card. Pack these essentials in a kit that you can keep in your bag throughout exam season so that it’s always there when you need it.

What Do You Think?

What do you bring to exams? Do you typically have long or short exams? What are your best tips for surviving exam season? Leave a comment and let me know!


  1. avatar Shaina McGregor says:

    I agree! The length of an exam can already be hard on the body or mind, but when we start getting thirsty or hungry we can’t even think about the material anymore. Also, it helps to take a sip of water to refresh ourselves when fatigue starts to set in. And yes a sweater! Sometimes the room temperature feel decent at first, but then hours later in the same position things change and suddenly you get cold. We want to be comfortable when taking a test, so we can focus on the material!

    How do I become a contributor for this website. It’s great!

  2. avatar annie says:

    thx so much exam week is tomorrow and have no idea how to prepare

  3. avatar dora says:

    you can carry a writing pad if u want

    • avatar Sarah says:

      or sticky notes another good thing to do is have a binder just a small one inch binder and put all your notes and study guides in there so that you can study when you have extra time

  4. avatar Mary says:

    Tampon is good too .

  5. avatar calebo says:

    Good ideas of what to bring, I get all that but can you help as I prepare for exams?

  6. avatar jc says:

    Your blog is really helps for my search and i really like it.. Thanks a lot..:)

  7. avatar Jake Lo says:

    Thanks! You just saved me from unnecessary freaking.

  8. avatar sparklegirl says:

    I think this is really helpful for high school exams too. Getting a watch is something I would never think of, and it’s definitely something I should get because when I can’t see the clock during a test I space out a lot.

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