Many are going to be giving exams soon. Here are a few tips to weather the storm that exams bring into your life.
General Do’s and Don’ts
- Relax!! However well prepared or badly prepared you are, worrying is not going to help at all. Look at exams as a game between you and the person who set the paper. It’s just a game. Besides, regardless of how much you are ready for the exam, exuding some confidence is great for you and unnerves others around you! J
- Eat well. Don’t starve yourself during this time. Eat enough that you feel satisfied. Indulge in a treat or two. Don’t over eat. You eat too much, you will feel sleepy. Eat fruit and veggies that are greener in colour and have more water content. Helps the brain function better.
- Sleep. Sleep energises and refreshes you. When you stay awake, your brain produces a toxic chemical called Amyloid Beta… I call it Brain Shit. It’s accumulation in the brain severely hampers your ability to think clearly which is critical for performing well on exams. If you go to the exam hall with a brain full of shit, you will perform accordingly. A full night’s sleep is critical for success.
- Exercise. Exercise produces a very healthy chemical cocktail in your brain that makes you feel confident. It creates a sense of well-being within you and actually brings on something called neurogenesis, which basically means your brain is getting smarter. Take a long walk or do some push ups or swim or do Surya Namaskras… This will actually enhance your performance in ways you cannot imagine.
- Meditate. If you know how to meditate, please meditate on these critical days. 20 minutes with your eyes closed does such wonders to your focus and concentration levels that you would be foolish to let of this edge. If you don’t know how to meditate, doesn’t matter, just sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few minutes before you start your work. Make sure you learn to meditate as soon as your exams are done so that you can use this to score super marks.
- Mudras. For those of you who know focus mudras like Tratak, do them before you start your work. This is something you can learn even now… Get a copy of Ready Study Go and learn from there. Check out some of our videos on YouTube for Focus Mudras and do them. Takes not even 5 minutes.
- Revise – Write! Don’t Read. Keep going over what you have already learned. Writing this out is much better than reading it again and again. Write out bullet points of each answer, each chapter. Do the writing without referring to your study material. Do your best to recall. Only refer to the material if the recall is simply not happening. You are going to get marks for writing in the exam. Practice accordingly.
Make quickie mind maps if you know how. Refer to mind maps you have already made. If you don’t know how to make mind maps, directly after your exams are done, read the chapters on Mind Mapping in our book Ready Study Go. Don’t do that now. Right now, just stick with what you know. If you have some stuff still left to learn, do that ONLY if you have finished revising and are thorough with what you already know.
Before Going for the Exam
- Logistics. Make sure all the things you need for your exam are in place the night before. Your hall ticket, pens, pencils, erasers, ruler and colour pens for sure. Lay out the clothes you are going to wear next day so you don’t bother yourself over that just before leaving.
- Arrive Early. Arrive at the exam hall well in advance of the time you are supposed to enter. You don’t want to get unnecessary adrenaline going just because you got stuck in traffic.
- Chill. Don’t fall prey to those super nervous breakdown types who have their nose in their book till the absolute last moment. Stay away from them and just relax before getting inside the hall.
During the Exam
- Pray. You need all the help you can get from wherever you can get it.
- Skim through the Question Paper. Read the entire question paper before starting to answer. Take at least 3-5 minutes to do this. Mark out stuff you know.
- Easy First Hard Later. Attempt all the stuff you are confident about. Then move on to the tougher things. Reading the entire question paper and doing easy first gives your subconscious time to wrestle with the tougher parts of the paper. It also builds up your confidence as your brain secretes dopamine as you finish each answer. There is no need whatsoever to answer sequentially.
- Use Simple Language. Don’t use flowery language in your answers. Answer simply and to the point. Remember that an examiner has hundreds, if not thousands of papers to correct. A topper I once knew used to say he would answer the questions thinking that the person who was going to correct his answers was a fool. He consistently got absolutely amazing grades.
- Attempt Everything. If there is no negative marking, make sure you attempt everything. Even if you don’t know anything about the answer, write out something there. Copy the question out. Write lyrics of a song. Write a joke. Whatever. Sometimes an examiner is feeling generous and they just want an excuse to give you credit. Give them that excuse. Even the most generous examiner cannot give you marks for a blank sheet of paper.
- Beautify. If you have the time, spend a little of it drawing lines, underlining key points etc. The neater and easier to read your answers, the more generous an examiner is going to feel.
- Review from Bottom to Top. If you still have time after beautification, review your answers from bottom to top. It’s much easier for the brain to spot errors if you do it like this.
After the Exam
- Leave. Don’t hang around. Don’t do post-mortem about the paper. You have written what you have written, there is nothing you can do to change it. So, leave it and move on.
- Eat and Rest. Go home, eat and rest for a while. Lounge around. Do nothing. Watching TV, surfing the net, going on Facebook, playing a video game doesn’t count as doing nothing. Really just do nothing for some time – about 45 minutes to an hour. Sleeping or meditating is allowed.
- Light Exercise. Some light exercise like 4-6 rounds of Surya Namaskars before starting work on the next exam is great.
- Work, Rest, Repeat. Don’t sit at your desk for hours at a stretch. Work for about 45 minutes, then take a break for about 10-15 minutes. Work again for 45 minutes, then again rest break for 15 minutes. Go through the day doing this and you will be amazed at how much you have managed to learn… how super-efficient you have become. Rest Break is NOT games, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, etc. Rest break is about just chilling and doing nothing that actively involves the brain – a short walk, playing with your dog or taking a shower can be considered rest.
Note to Parents
Please relax. Don’t get hyper. Your child needs a relaxed, safe environment to study in. That’s when the brain works best. You fretting and stressing out will reflect very negatively on your child’s ability to learn.
I remember my father actually taking me out for a night show just before my Maths exam because I had finished revising everything by 8:00 pm and was at a loose end of what to do. We watched Mr. Natwarlal. I scored 145 on 150!
Remember Exams are just a game between the person who set the paper and the one who is answering it!
Crack those exams!!
All the Best to everyone!!!
Summarised from our book Ready Study Go and our workshop Study Sutras. For more about effective and enjoyable learning, grab a copy of our book Ready Study Go and read it.
Study Sutras is a 3-hour intensive fast-paced workshop delving into the intricacies of how to make the brain work with dazzling efficiency. Attend our Study Sutras workshop to make student life easier and work life more efficient.
Study Sutras is coming soon as an online workshop. Watch out for it.
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