Taking exams in your dance education is really important, not just because it gives you something to work towards. One of the best reasons for taking exams is the attitude that it can foster within students. By taking exams they are more willing to learn and to really get top marks they will want to learn correctly with proper technique, this attitude towards learning isn’t just good for dance education but education in general. Exam taking students also learn how to be polite towards the examiner, showing curtesy and respect, two important qualities for anyone going into a hierarchical career.
But exams are also super stressful, and as such many children can become upset and anxious about them. To make things a little easier, here are a list of things that you can do, or bring on exam day to make the experience less stressful, for yourself and others around.
- Practice at home – Simply ask for the music from the teacher, if they can’t give it to you for copyright reasons, ask for a list of exercises so you can at least practice the order.
- Give it your all in class – There is simply no reason not to practice full out in dance class, by not doing so you’re actually wasting your time as any corrections given may not be right for you when you do it in the exam.
- Know the uniform you need to wear – Ask in advance what you need to wear, and be sure that you have it in advance of the exam date, if possible also bring along a spare for any last minute spills!
- Practice in the shoes you’ll wear for the exam – We all like to look our best during an exam, which may mean buying brand new shoes, but do be sure to wear them beforehand and practice in them. They might be too small, or may need breaking in.
- Hairspray, Hairbands, Hair gel, Slides, Grips, Bun Nets, and a Hairbrush – Just bring anything hair related as you’re bound to need it. I advise that you do hair before getting to the exam venue and using everything you have to neaten it up once you get there, or redo if it’s not quite right.
- Know which exams your taking – This seems crazy right? But just make sure you know what exams you are doing, then you can prioritise practicing for these styles over others.
- Get there early – Getting there early settles you down a little more, as you can relax a little bit knowing you’re already dressed ready to go into the exam.
- Bring spare tights and leggings – Both these items can snag very easily so be sure to bring spares. Any tights should be specialist dance tights as they won’t have the darker top half.
- Warm up and Stretch – While you’re waiting for the exam start time go ahead and warm up and stretch, it will ease your body into the exam.
- Be quiet and polite – When in the exam be as quiet as possible and answer any questions the examiner has politely. If someone else or yourself goes wrong, don’t draw attention to that, simply keep going.
- Smile – During the exam find some time to smile at the examiner, many exams have presentation marks, so do be sure to perform.
- Don’t get hung up on results – Getting good results is great, but it isn’t everything. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else in the room, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. If you did the exam, your teacher believes in you, we don’t set anyone up to fail. If you think you did badly, just remember that and work a little bit harder next time. Be proud of what you achieve.