Ensure your success
Photo: R. Ragu
When it comes to exams, there is no real substitute for preparation.
Writing an exam? Be calm...it helps.
Exams normally measure a student’s understanding of the subject. The scores of a student go a long way in deciding his career and life in today’s context. Hence, writing a test can be a stressful event. Now, you may think the only way to make sure that you are fully prepared is to study hard and know your subject. However, there are a few other things that you can do that will help ensure your success.
Moving to Alpha
Research has proved that the calmer the mind, the better its capability to register and retrieve information. Every time you sit to study allocate five minutes to calm your mind. When the mind is relaxed, it is in the state of alpha where the brain waves are at about seven to 14 cycles per second, the most conducive state to excel.
Choose a calm place for study, a comfortable seating position and keep your books handy. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and take deep breaths. Relax your body and mind. Visualise the day of your results and see yourself. See the scene as if it is just happening with your friends, teachers and parents congratulating you. Enjoy the experience. Take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. Now you are completely charged up and ready to absorb and retain information.
Slay the dragon
All of us have many dragons in our mind. There is uncertainty and questions: can I remember all I learn; it is a difficult subject; I don’t like this topic and so on which adds to the tension. Imagine each to be a dragon. Every time these thoughts surface, just slay the dragon and bury it. Quickly replace this negative thought with positive thoughts that give you confidence.
Plan the schedule
Depending on what you want to study, how much ground you have to cover in that session, plan your time. Allot time for studying, revising and relaxing. Ideally take a break for about two minutes after every 20 minutes of studying. Clearly plan what topics you will cover and in what time frame. How do you study ‘smarter’? Make a list of the most important things you need to learn, in order of importance, and hit the items at the top first. Make a list of all the work you have to do, estimate how much time each will take, and compare that with the amount of hours you have available; this will tell you if you can carefully read (or just skim), how many times you can afford to revise papers, and other ways to pace yourself so you can get everything done.
Students generally make a study plan but miss out on implementing it. One reason is they get sucked into specific topics and spend much time there and end up with not covering the portions. Sometimes they do not concentrate as much as they should and hence take a longer time to complete. When you have a plan implement it meticulously for that study session, come what may. It is best to be in the present rather than worrying about the past or future.
Because stress can impair your memory, it’s important to stay calm before and during tests. While that’s easier said than done, there are several stress relief techniques that can help you calm down quickly whenever you feel overwhelmed. Breathing exercises, for example, can be extremely effective in helping you relax and reverse your stress response: just take deep breaths, expanding your belly on the inhale, and let the stress come out with your exhales.
Getting less than six hours of sleep can cause a sleep deficit . So it’s important to get a good night of sleep before your big day.
Eating properly can have an amazing impact on your body and mind. Eat a nutritious breakfast before the exam.
On D-day, stop reading and browsing the book at least two hours before the test. Have a bath, a healthy breakfast and leave home early so that you don’t get tense because you could be late. Before entering the hall, visualise success .
Once you get the question paper, evaluate the entire paper. Do not rush into answering. Select questions you are very sure of, mark the ones you want to answer. Answer questions that you find easy because that gives you confidence and also time to take the rest of the exams peacefully. When you have a choice, make sure that you select problems because they can be solved in a shorter span of time and you can be sure of full marks. But if you are not sure of problems then select paragraph answers. Time your paper and ensure that you complete at least 10 minutes before the due time.
After answering every question take a minute to revise the answer. This would be useful in case you don’t find time to review your answer sheet later. After completing the answers revise. Revision is extremely critical because it can help you identify mistakes and correct them.
And finally after the exam, please understand that you cannot do anything about the way you have answered , just relax and wait for the results
The writer is Director, Aspire Learning, Chennai
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