If the week before exams was tough, how would you rate this? Absolutely, terrifying! Can’t concentrate, can’t eat, can’t sleep…. this just about sums up the day! Your elders will, of course, advise you not to worry, but that is much easier said than done. While it is natural to worry at a time like this, keep your feelings under control. After all, there are a number of important things that you need to take care of in the last few days.
The time just before the beginning of the exam can be crucial to how well you re-revise the information you have worked with, and how calm you remain. Here are some basic tips and strategies for what to do during this time.
Last few days before the exam
- Avoid any activity which may cause anxiety. Focus on whatever you have studied.
- Under no circumstance should you solve problems in the last few days. This may have a damaging influence on your confidence and ability to solve questions and problems during the examination.
- Stop discussion or review of the subject at least 1 to 2 days before commencement of the examination. Many students insist on cramming till the last minute. This is absolutely unnecessary and leads to additional tension and problems. Relax the day before the examination. Do what you like the best or do what makes you happy or motivates you.
- Focus your attention on the main points of revision. Time is very limited and how you spend it, is important. This is not the time for learning minute details or a new topic. Write down the main points as you go through your notes. This will fix the ideas in your mind.
- When with friends, try not to talk excessively about how nervous you are, how you are going to perform and what the final results might be. This will only succeed in making you more nervous and will take your attention off your preparation.
- Be confident. But do not be overconfident – this will cause you to become complacent and overlook important stuff during the revision process. Avoid discouraging yourself. Be optimistic and positive
- Get enough rest and recreation.
Day before the exam
- Verify the exact location of your examination center at least one day before the exam. When you are sure of the location, find out the buses or trains that take you there. If you are using your own vehicle, make sure it is in a good condition and has sufficient petrol.
- Check the exact time of the commencement of your examination. Plan to be there at least half-an-hour before the scheduled time. If commuting is going to take you half an hour, you shall start at least an hour before the examination starts.
- It is very important to have the following items ready, on the night before the examination.
– Your hall- ticket or registration slip.
– Blue or black pens or ball-pens with fresh refills (that works).
- Anxiety and excitement are normal on the eve of the examination. Suppress excessive worry.
- Say to yourself. “Tomorrow is the day I have been preparing for all these weeks. Now is my chance to show that I have studied well.”
- Have a light meal. Listen to some soft music.
- Review your keyword cards with the emphasis on practicing recall. Attempting to cram in new material, although tempting, will tend to use up energy and be self-defeating.
- To minimize exam anxiety, avoid gossiping about your preparation and state of mind with others.
- Go to bed relaxed with a sense of relief that the strain you have experienced for weeks is soon to end. Go to bed at least by 10.30 p.m. not later. At this point, an hour of sleep is more valuable to your performance than an hour of extra cramming. In fact it is advised to go to bed a little earlier than usual. This way, even if you do not sleep well, you will still get enough rest.
- Sufficient sleep assists digestion and gives confidence and calmness before the exam.
On the Morning of the Exam
At last, the day of reckoning is here. How do you feel? Nervous? Tense? Scared? Anxious? Or, all of these! Relax. Just take it easy.
With all your preparation, the exam enemy should be easily defeated. Exams are not just about testing your knowledge and study skills. They are also about testing you as a person and individual. Exams test your ability to work and think under stress and deal with the difficult situation. By facing exams bravely, you begin to feel more confident of yourself, irrespective of the final results. In next few pages, you will learn how to control stress so that you can perform to your fullest capacity and demonstrate your true potential.
- Revision: Many students feel an early morning revision on the day of the examination is very helpful. If required you should just go through the main concepts and ideas for an hour or so. Close your books at least three hours before the examination.
- Breakfast: You will be pre-occupied with the examination but do not skip your breakfast. You need sufficient nutrition in your body to carry you through 2 to 3 hours of high mental activity. Let your breakfast not to be too heavy or too light.
- Try as far as possible to stick to your normal routine.
- Arrive early.
- Use positive visualization and self-talk. Imagine yourself doing well, recalling easily, and calmly dealing with uncertainty and difficult questions.
- Review your anxiety strategies. If you’re really ready, you probably won’t get an anxiety attack, but at least you will be ready if you do. Use the deep breathing and other relaxation techniques when you feel the need for them.
- Generally, avoid talking to other nervous students. It will feed your anxiety and inhibit your concentration.
- Find a seat where you will feel most comfortable (e.g., near heat if you tend to feel cold, or by a window for fresh air). Arrive early enough to get the seat you want.
Finishing your studies for the Exam
Follow the following instructions while closing your studies for the exam.
Select 3-4 numerical questions of which you are very-very confident of solving correctly. You must have attempted these questions many times during your preparation so the chances of doing them wrong or getting confused is zero. The questions should be logical in nature. Solve them completely step by step with proper understanding.
Our research says that this small exercise will give you the confidence and motivation much required just before the exams. Also it would initiate your mind and put it in thinking mode (some of the students have a problem that their mind gets choked and stop working just before the exams)
Outside Examination Center
- Minimise your waiting time outside an exam room, know the location of the room and time your walk, rehearsing it if necessary. You may either come directly from your home or find a temporary waiting place near the exam room that you can use until a few minutes before the examination.
- Meet only those people you want to meet, if any. Avoid conversation with friends, eg about how nervous you are feeling, what topics you have revised or questions you think are going to be in the paper.
- Stay away from others just before the test: When you have arrived outside the examination room, the sight of students pouring their books or discussing excitedly can make you nervous or anxious. It is best to avoid all of them. The last few minutes should be spent alone in peace. Sit calmly in a place and relax. Should someone come and discuss the subject, tactfully leave/avoid him.If you feel very tensed, go to a calm place near the examination hall (before the commencement of the exam), close your eyes and take deep breaths for 2-3 minutes. If you have been practicing meditation regularly, this may be a good time to do so.
Anxiety is highly contagious. It is best to focus on what you know rather than on what you don’t know. Reinforce your strengths and confine your weaknesses.
“The above articles have been written by Mr. Avinash Agarwal, who is an exam strategist for school academics and competitive exam preparation. He has also authored many motivational books for students such as “How to Succeed in Competitive Examinations” and “Toppers Secrets of Success” that focus on study techniques and the right attitudinal approach students must adopt in order to clear exams with flying colors. Avinash holds a B-Tech in Computers from G.B Pant University and an MBA from MDI, Gurgaon.”