Exam Preparation tips
When you think of the exams, the first question that comes to your mind usually is – “How to start with the preparation?” and many times this is followed by a feeling of ‘Stress!’ and ‘anxiety’ which is manifest in varying forms like inability, ‘to’ focus on the studies; forgetting the topic(s) you have learnt; headaches, cramps, nausea, palpitations and breathlessness and general uneasiness.
Some may worry about an exam for days before it is to take place and/or during the exam. When tackling the examination you may experience negative thoughts and unpleasant physical symptoms which prevent you from performing to the best of your ability in the examinations. All this may be termed in a nutshell as “Exam Phobia”.
Preparing for the exam is never truly a relaxing experience. At the same time, it need not be such an excruciating one also. If you are mentally and physically ready to take on the exams, then there is no stopping for you. In fact, you can take steps to ensure that the stress helps, rather than hinders, your ability to do well in the exams. This may sound rather strange, but remember that stress isn’t always a bad thing. However, the most important aspect here is to know how much stress can you withstand. The closer you are to your optimum stress level, the better your performance will be. The trick lies in determining what is your stress level, and to know whether it is crossing the controllable levels.
Follow these simple tips to overcome the exam phobia:
Prepare your study timetable much in advance
Most students know that cramming in the night before never works as well as setting up a study schedule in advance (and then following it) – but somehow, we end up doing it. Anyway! Start thinking about what you’re going to do to study at least a few months before the exam, and set up a timetable for yourself. Use checklists, and tick or cross off each topic once you’ve covered it. Try different study techniques, and test yourself frequently to identify which ones work best for you. Avoid repetitive reading: If you are unable to remember, break up the chapter into points and sub points and try and remember each sub point. Do participate in mock tests: periodically, especially in difficult subjects.
Fix up a study place
Make sure that your study has no disturbance. Sit in a well-ventilated room and let there not be too much furnishing around. Just a study table and chair. If possible don’t have a cot in the room. And if you do have one, don’t ever sit on the cot when you are studying. It may induce sleep, as cots are made for that purpose only! As far as possible see to it that you sit at the same place every time you sit to study. Maintain a good posture. Sit in a comfortable position – not too sloppily nor too erect that it gives a stiff back. There should be good support to the back. However avoid too hard a seat as also too soft cushioning.
As the exams draw closer, it can be easy to lock yourself in your room and not come out for hours at a time. The trouble with this is that when we stop moving, our brains get sluggish. If you want to make sure you’re taking in what you study, it’s important to get some form of exercise – even just a walk – at least once a day. And if you’re starting to feel stress symptoms building as you study, try taking time out for something that is more energetic.
Experiment with Relaxation
There are a number of different relaxation methods available – how many have you tried? Meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music, hypnosis audios, auto suggestions, relaxing, taking hot (or cool) baths, and strolling through some green environment are all possibilities. The activity should be rejuvenating and should not be draining your energies.
Don’t Skip on your Sleep
With so much study to do, sleep is common in exam time. It’s also one of your best allies for a clear mind, so if you care about your exam results, make sure you don’t let it slide. Aim to get (6-7) hours of sleep a night in the weeks leading up to exams (more if you’ feel tired – different bodies have different requirements), and ensure that you get an early night sleep before each exam.
Watch your Diet
Perhaps more than any other time of the year, nutrition levels are critical during examination time. Our brains simply can’t function optimally if we’re not supplying them with enough of the nutrients they need. Make sure that you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Consider a multi-vitamin supplement if you’re not already taking one. Eat something rich in complex of carbohydrates an hour or two before you go to the exam as well to avoid a sugar slump while you’re trying to concentrate.
Don’t Forget deep Breathe !
Before and during exams, oxygen is your best friend! Focused deep breathing or ‘Pranayama’ which is a relaxation technique you can use regularly whenever you feel stressed out. It is most useful, before and during the exam. When you’re under pressure, it’s natural for your breathing to start speeding up and getting shallower. Don’t let that happen! Consciously take slower, deeper breaths and watch yourself start to relax, and your thoughts begin to clear.
Overcome the Anxiety: Think Positive
Think of all the examinations you have faced so far and recollect as to how you have overcome your fears. Visualize the worst that can happen and then think positive. Talk over your anxieties to your parents, friends and get it out of your mind periodically. At the same time, talk about the subjects you are good in and the chapters you are well prepared in. Gain confidence in subjects you know best by completing the revision and writing notes. Make brief points to refer just before the examination.
Remember, help is available
Most institutions / organizations have some form of the student counseling available. If so, don’t feel shy or nervous to approach the counselors. In case your institution doesn’t have one, you may very well avail the services of consultants like KAB where your problem will be rightly addressed. They have trained professionals who will provide you with guidance and suggestions to cope up not only with the examination phobia but will also help in identifying and rectifying other problems that you may be facing in your studies.
A Day before the Examination:
1.Get a good sleep the night before the exams.
2.Don’t go to the exam with an empty stomach. Take light snacks which includes a good dose of vegetables and fruits for nourishment.
3.Avoid taking heavy spices or stressful foods like chocolates, eggs, fried foods, chips, candy etc.
On the day of the Examination:
1.Get up early in the morning as usual. Have your prayer.
2.Take a light breakfast, with a glass of fresh fruit juice (if possible).
3.Carry your own water bottle and reach the exam centre at least half an hour before the schedule time.
During the Examination:
1.Enter the examination hall half an hour before the schedule time.
2.Take your seat, make it neat and comfortable according to your convenience.
3.Close your eyes and calm down yourself with deep breathe and a silent prayer.
4.Follow the instructions given by the invigilators from time to time.
5.Read the directions (instructions) carefully written on the question paper
6.Plan your time by having a quick look at the entire paper and then divide the available time, appropriate to the number and type of questions.
7.Read each question carefully and completely before answering.
8.Do not be disturbed about other students finishing before you do. Take your own time Don’t get panic and you will do much better on the test.
9.Answer the easiest questions first and concentrate on answering one question at a time.
10.Answer all the questions of a section at one place. Correctly mark the question numbers to the appropriate answer. Answer all the questions in order.
11.The last ten minutes should be allocated for a quick recheck and review of the answers.