In the Continuation of “42 Days Action Plan to Target RRB Group D & ALP Examination (Consolidation Phase Part 1), this Second Part is having too agenda to focus upon :
Step 1: Getting used to Exam tension & pressure
Step 2: Keep going
GETTING USED TO EXAM TENSION & PRESSURE
Examinations are to formal learning as races are to Olympic training. They are the final performance for which the participant must travel a long road of preparation. The exam, like the race, is only a small part of the story. There are many long hours, weeks, and months of serious work that must be undertaken before the examinee and competitor can even hope to be at his or her best on the fateful day.
Although some people appear to take examinations in their stride, for the rest of us the feelings associated with examinations make it very difficult to get used to them. However, if we can familiarise ourselves with what is expected of us beforehand, it may well help to lessen their impact upon us and enable us to cope better in the examination room. In order to do that student is advised to.
- Practise answering questions in examination conditions: Simulate examination conditions by answering a question in silence without the aid of books or other materials; at a desk and within strictly applied examination time limit. You can do this for:
- individual questions
- a whole paper
- planning outline answers (linear, spider or patterned notes).
This will provide practise at thinking clearly and quickly in examination conditions. You may wish to try these approaches gradually, eg giving yourself less time each time to answer the question; working for a longer silent period each time. You could add to this by:
- using a friend or parent as an invigilator, so you can get used to someone walking past you or standing behind you
- sitting in the room where you will sit the exam to get the feel of it.
- Devote more and more time in testing and fine tuning your final strategy
- Try to take as many tests as possible in the last one month before the exams : It will also help you with overcoming the unacceptable levels of test anxiety. Retake some mock tests to practice the test taking techniques .
- In the last few mock tests which you take at home allocate yourself 15 to 20 minutes less than the actual time, you would get in the final exams. This will put you under time pressure and hence would help you in improving your speed and performance. Moreover, during the final exams you will also get a feeling as if you are not short of time.
- Try different strategies for appearing in the test and find out which one works best for you.
- Taking adequate number of very similar test will help you to naturalise with the exam process which involves rapid shifting of focus from one topic to another and working under a certain amount of pressure and time constraints.
- Learn from mock exams or tests : Once you have completed your mock exams, engage in a full postmortem of them by yourself or with the help of another. Whether they went well or badly, use the Test Assessment & Analysis Sheet to analyse what happened. Check your revision, exam techniques and your anxiety levels. Write down the changes you will make and start to put them into operation immediately.
- Tuning your body clock : In the last one month make your study schedule according to the schedule of the examination. For example if you are into the habit of studying late in the night your body and mind gets tuned for best performance and maximum concentration in the night but this may not be of any help during the exam (in some cases it may even harm you).
So get into the habit of serious studying during the hours of the day as per your exam schedule. I have seen students who have habit of taking a short sleep after lunch and they face difficulty in concentrating in the exam which is scheduled in the second half. So the message is tune your body and mind to give the best output at the time the exam is scheduled. If the exam time is 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, schedule your serious study in one stretch (i.e without any break) during these hours of the day and most importantly all mock test you take should be taken strictly at this time only.
The recommended schedule
Day 1-4 : Study 12 to 14 hours a day. The rough distribution of 12 hours should be
5 hours : Revision of all subjects
2 hours : Mock test (focus on improving speed and strike rate). While giving the mock test allocate yourself 10 minutes less than the exam time.*
1 hour : Mock test Analysis. Try to find out areas, in which you need more practice.
4 hours : Problem solving and practice. Work on your weak areas so as to perform better in the next test
* The student is advised to take 3-4 full syllabus tests. In case of days when you are not appearing in mock test devote more time on revision and practice output using other modes.
Day 5 and 6 : Study 10 to 12 hours a day. The rough distribution of 10 hours should be
5 hours : Recollect your rapid review notes. Have an overview of the complete syllabus
3 hours : Mock test (focus on exam giving strategy). While giving the mock test allocate yourself 15-20 minutes less than the exam time.
2 hours : Mock test Analysis. Try to find out weak areas which can be rectified quickly.
Step 4 : Keep going
Repeat Steps 1 to 3 until you feel you have almost over learned the material. Don’t stop at a level at which you have just marginal recall of some vital information. Your goal is to know the material so well that you will be able to remember it under the pressure of the exam situation.
Now you have entered the final stages of your preparation and by now you must have started feeling the pressure. In the last stages of preparation apart from subject knowledge what is equally important is the state of mind. As somebody has rightly said “the difference between a topper and an average student is not much as far as subject knowledge is concerned but the major difference is in terms of mental preparation”. This reminds me of an incident.
India was to play a match against Pakistan. Sachin was the captain. One day before the match, during the net practice, Ganguly and Dravid got injured and were ruled out for match. The toss was very crucial in the match as the pitch was expected to deteriorate after 50 overs.
Next day in the morning Sachin lost the toss. Ravi Shastri asked a question to Sachin immediately after the toss “Sachin you have lost 2 key players and the toss as well so what is your plan for the game”.
Sachin kept quiet for sometime and then replied,
“Ravi, matches are fought and won in the mind and not in the field”
The Result : Sachin scored an unbeaten century, and India defeated Pakistan by 4 wickets.
Last one month before exams is the time for real test and a student should keep himself cool ,calm and collected. All your efforts and attempts to do well in the examination may collapse if you do not think positively about yourself and your performance. Motivate yourself positively. Think of your past successes and convince yourself that you will experience success in future.
So, ‘Whenever you find weariness approaching , rouse yourself and remember , that , if you give up, all that you have done has been done in vain…’ It is this belief, confidence and faith in oneself which helps a person in performing better.
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.