The exam season is upon us. The end of the year, when our fate rests in the hands of examiners, and our knowledge. Sometimes, it is easier to forget that exams are supposed to test our knowledge, and help us progress. They can instead become a source of stress, unmet deadlines, and a time when we lose confidence in our abilities.
As students who are going to take exams over the next few months, whether prepared or unprepared at this time, it is important to remain stress-free and motivated. If you are one of such students who are about to sit for your annual, board or any competitive examination, then you are at the right place.
These tips will help you remain as cool as a cucumber during the examination chaos:
Stress, Stress, Fly Away!
All the studying, late-night revisions, and deadlines can leave you feeling stressed out, and it may seem like it is never going to end. Well, it is. But if you can follow these guidelines, you will forget what stress feels like:
- Get plenty of sleep. You may want to pull an all-nighter before the big day, but it is not recommended. Proper sleep helps relax your body and mind, preparing you for the examination hall better. So, don’t even think of missing out on your sleep.
- Prepare a schedule and stick to it. There is no need for elaborate study hours if it is not manageable. Your schedule should be such that it gives you enough time to study and also take some time off to refresh your mind. For example – Studying for about an hour, and taking a 10-minute break after that is reasonable.
- Practice some meditation or physical activity every day. Some people prefer to sit and meditate while others find exercising a good way to relieve stress. Both the activities help produce feel-good chemicals in our brain, which leads to a reduction in the stress levels in our body and mind.
- Watch what you eat. Eating junk food might seem like a good idea, but it is only going to make you feel lazier and stressed out. Try and incorporate fresh fruits (seasonal) and vegetables, milk and other healthy foods into your diet. Such foods are easy on your stomach, build good immunity, and help fight off stress.
Time Management is the Key
Managing time in an organised way during the examination is one of the biggest challenges that students face. This is why, planning your day ahead in time will help you cover important topics and still have time for revision and other activities. Here are a few tips to manage your time well:
- Start your day early. If you are a late bloomer, you might want to rethink your schedule. If you wake up early, you will have more time to plan your day and work on things. Early morning is also a great time to study as your mind is fresh, and your body is well-rested.
- Eat the frog first. The “Frog” refers to the big task that is going to take up more effort and time than any other activity. For some people, the frog can be a particular subject or a chapter. Logic is, if you finish this activity first, you will be much more relieved and have more time left to study other topics. It is a good way to manage time effectively when you have a lot of tasks to accomplish.
- Limit recreation time. Recreation is important, but you need to understand your priorities (which is study right now) and limit the time you devote to TV, Internet and “WhatsApping”. It drains your energy and makes you lethargic. If you could use this limited time for some physical activity or meditation, you would feel refreshed at the end of this time, increasing your focus and concentration during study time.
- Use technology to help you get organised. You can leverage technology to help with your time management. You can set schedules and organise your subjects in your organiser, use notes to help you remind of your schedule, create events on google calendar for the time you are going to study a particular topic, take mock tests with the help of your timer, etc.
Be your own Motivation
Motivation is your desire and strength to keep going, and is a crucial factor when it comes to exam preparation. Some people are motivated because of external factors (extrinsic motivation), such as praise from others, good grades in the exam, etc. Others are motivated due to internal factors (intrinsic motivation) such as self-satisfaction, self-confidence, progress, etc. Whatever the source of motivation, it can certainly amp up your preparation strategy, and keep you going. Here are a few tips to remain motivated during this time:
- Focus on your goals. It is important to always keep your goals in mind, to remind you of the bigger picture, and what you need to do to accomplish the end result. Post reminders of it in your room, your laptop, or any place else you are likely to see every day.
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. When making goals for yourself, always remember the acronym – SMART. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Fixing small, SMART goals will give you concrete objectives to study, and thus would act as a source of motivation. These goals should include both short-term and long-term goals.
- Reward yourself. Always keep small rewards for yourself, to give yourself when you achieve any of your short-term goals. This would act as an extrinsic source of motivation, yet would fuel your intrinsic motivation too in the process. You can customise these rewards according to your own preferences, and can be anything from a hangout with friends, to half an hour playing your favourite video game.
- Do not restrict yourself. Many students end up making study a negative thing by limiting their favourite activities during the days leading up to the examinations, which makes it even harder to gather motivation. There is no harm in talking to friends, watching movies, or playing games, only if one does them in moderation (see time management), and uses them as a reward system to support their study.
- Seek help to stay motivated. Find a mentor, a friend, parent, or teacher that keeps you motivated. There would, of course, be certain periods when you start losing hope or focus, at such times the support of your mentor can keep you on the right track, mentally and emotionally.
We hope these tips will help you get through the examination time with ease. We wish you all you students all the best for the upcoming exam season!
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