How to calm nerves before your End-Point Assessment

A woman leans against the sofa as she works on her laptop

So you’ve got an End-Point Assessment coming up? Congratulations on making it all the way through your apprenticeship – the finishing line is in sight!

You might be feeling excited, and perhaps a little nervous too. That’s completely natural. And the good news is there are things you can do in the run-up to your assessment and on the day itself to help calm nerves and reduce stress.  

In this article, Linda Bartley, Lead IQA at FuturU, shares her top tips to calm end-point assessment nerves, and how you can prepare for success.

How can I calm nerves before my end-point assessment?


Ahead of your assessment it’s really important to practise. If you’re taking a written knowledge or situational judgement test, access the free resources your training provider has available to help you prepare. There’s practice tests you can have a go at to help you get a feel for what you’ll be asked and the structure of the test itself.

If you have an observation or professional discussion coming up, carry out a timed mock assessment with your training provider. They’ll really help you get an understanding of what to expect. The length of assessments can differ depending on the level, so it’s a good idea to practise within the correct time frame.

Take notes

Depending on the assessment standard you’re taking, you may be able to prepare up to two single-sided A4 pages of bullet point notes – these are quick and easy to scan and can be referred back to during the assessment. Your notes must be hand-written, or printed out – they shouldn’t be on a laptop or tablet. You can check with your training provider if notes are allowed. 

Get yourself a copy of the knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to the assessment you’re taking too, to help you get a clear idea of what you’re being assessed against. You can search for your assessment plan on the IfATE website here

Get a good night’s sleep

It goes without saying that you’ll be able to perform at your best if you’re feeling well rested, so try to get a full night’s sleep the night before your assessment.

Read more: How to get quality rest as a shift worker in healthcare →

Check you’re ready

Ultimately, you need to feel ready to take your assessment. If you don’t think you’ll be ready by your assessment date, remember you can always push it back, but please try to give us as much notice as you can. We can discuss the options along with your training provider.

Whenever we have learners who say they don’t feel prepared enough for their assessment, we’ll always feed that back to their training provider to help them improve things for future learners.

How can I calm my nerves on the day of my end-point assessment?

Get everything ready

You’ll need to show a form of photographic ID (eg. a passport, driving licence or work ID) on the day, so make sure you have this ready and with you! And don’t forget to have your notes ready to refer back to in the assessment itself.

If you’re taking your assessment remotely, you’ll be sent an email with a link to join the assessment ahead of time. Remote assessments are held on either Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the platform you’ll be using for your assessment, and download the application if needed. Don’t worry, we include instructions on this in the email we send you.

Get comfortable

It might sound obvious, but make sure you use the toilet just before your assessment, and dress comfortably.

Whether your assessment’s at home or in your workplace, try to find a quiet and comfortable spot. Just remember that no one can be in the room with you during your assessment.

Let people know in advance that your assessment’s coming up, so they don’t disturb you, and if you’re expecting a parcel, leave a note to let them know they shouldn’t ring the doorbell. It’s important to remember that you can’t leave the room once your assessment has started.

If you can, avoid doing a shift right before your assessment – it can be helpful to give yourself some time to relax and unwind beforehand.

How can I stay calm during my end-point assessment?

Stay hydrated

You might find it helpful to bring a hot or cold drink with you to your assessment – this is absolutely fine and we’d encourage you to do so if you think it might help you relax.

Believe in yourself

Remember that you’ve gotten through all of your apprenticeship – you’re right at the end and have the knowledge you need to succeed. Our assessors aren’t trying to trip you up or catch you out, they’re there to assess your knowledge, skills and behaviours, and will do their absolute best to calm your nerves. 

If you’re not sure on something, in your professional discussion or post-observation questioning for example, your assessor will always ask if you’d like to come back to it at the end so you don’t need to let it worry you.

And if you’re not successful this time around, remember you can resit your assessment. For the standards we offer, you can resit an assessment component once. You’ll get feedback, regardless of the outcome, after your assessment – this will outline any missed opportunities or areas for improvement, as well as what you did well. It’s really important you read this carefully to help you prepare for your resit. Your training provider is on hand to support you too.

How does FuturU help calm pre-assessment jitters?

Once you’ve booked your assessment and you’ve been matched to an assessor, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your assessor’s name as well as the date and time of the assessment and its length. You’ll receive a further email with a link to join the assessment, plus information on what you’ll need to have with you and what you can bring along.

You can expect a telephone pre-call from your assessor on the day before your assessment or on the day itself. Your assessor will introduce themself, answer any last minute questions and try to calm any nerves you might be feeling. They’ll also confirm the date and time of your assessment and what you’ll need to bring with you, and explain what you can expect in the assessment itself.

However you’re feeling ahead of your end-point assessment, it’s worth remembering that everyone suffers with nerves to one extent or another – it’s totally natural. Speak slowly and remember to breathe. You’ve got this!

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