Exam Preparations

How to get ready for upcoming dance exams

Everyone is different in the way they prepare for academic exams but are they also different in the way they prepare for dance exams? I think everyone has a completely different mind set from one another when it comes to dance exams for example some people may only practice at the studio but others may also practice at home, it can all depend on your confidence level and what style of dance the exam is. I am currently getting ready for a ballet exam (not my strongest style) so below are a couple of my personal tips:

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1.  Review all exercises and dances that will be included

I have only ever done bboDance or UTD exams but I assume most will follow the same format of barre work, centre work and a dance (obviously with variation dependant on style and level i.e. pointe work). The first thing I have always done when given an exam list is look through every single exercise to see if I know them or not because if you don’t identify this early it could be your downfall closer to the time.

2.  Ask questions

If you have found that would are unsure of some of the exercises for have any other questions such as starting positions, make sure you ask your teacher now so they have time to go over the exercise and also work on the technique and performance to ensure you get the highest marks possible. You can also ask your class mates to go through exercises before class if it is only small things you are unsure of and don’t want to ask the teacher (remember there is no such thing as a silly or unimportant question in a teachers eyes).

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3.  Identify your weaknesses

Now that you have reviewed your list and know all the exercises it is time to identify any weaknesses you may have. Everyone has weaknesses and there is no shame in that because only by knowing you weaknesses can you improve on them. For example I know that my weakness is pirouettes so with a ballet exam approaching I am practicing them more frequently (especially the left as it freaks me out), so identify your weakness and incorporate them into your weekly routine more.

4.  Set a weekly routine for the run up

Set yourself a routine for when you are going to practice around your normal weekly routine so you can make sure you have time to work on all your exam exercises. This will be different for everyone as you may have school or a second job during the day and then only be able to fit practice in on your free evenings but even if you can only get in 1 or 2 extra sessions each week it will be beneficial.

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5.  Write down corrections

Any corrections that you are given by your teacher in the run up to the exam should be written down so that you can review and practice at home without forgetting any. This is a good thing to get into the habit of anyway but it is especially useful during exam time.

6.  Night before

Relax! I always think that the most important thing to do the night before an exam is to relax in a way that you prefer, for example I like to get a long hot bubble bath then watch a Disney movie in bed (yes I am obsessed with Disney). The one thing I never do is practice right before bed because it will then be on my mind all night and I wont sleep well. If you are really worried go through each exercise in your mind and then do something to relax.

Everyone prepares for exams differently so let me know your tips in the comments below.

Thanks, Hannah 🙂

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