You are not the only one who is facing the examinations. Generations have appeared in the past for examinations and generations will be appearing in the future too. The fact is one cannot do away with it nor can the students run away from the examinations. Many students are able to learn and integrate information well, yet when it comes to being tested in an exam, they suffer from 'exam stress' and do not perform to the best of their potential.
What are examinations and why are they held?
Examinations are a test to the work you have learnt for the academic year. This is one of the ways to know if you are ready for the next class or no. Just like you cannot jump before walking same way you have to study in hierarchy to reach the next class and have to be ready and prepared for it too. But over the years the word examinations have triggered an insurmountable block in the minds of the students who are appearing for it. It seems to be an uphill task for most parents, teachers and professionals to handle this fear.
What are the reasons for exam fear? The examination fear is due
• Personal Experiences,
• Fear of failure,
• Fear of being judged by the significant people,
• Expectations from self, Parents, teachers,
• Peer Pressure,
• Naturally nervous, anxious and worried,
• Not prepared thoroughly,
• Poor skills and study habits.
How does one overcome the examination fear?
When a student gets nervous during examinations the chances of his forgetting his work and messing up the exam paper is more. The treatment to this major issue lies within each of us. Well-organized and effective study habits are the key solutions to the examination fear. All you need to do is to discipline yourself, stick to the planned timetable. This is one of the best ways to avoid the last-minute preparation and the resulting anxiety. Cramming without having understood is one of the reasons for feeling anxious for going 'blank' before exams. In fact when you have understood the material you have won half the battle, and now you only need to memorize it. Remember there is no substitute for hard work coupled with discipline. Both are a potent combination for success in any field. Stretch yourself a little to go the extra mile to do the extra bit in your everyday work; do not give up as patience and perseverance pays in the long run. High performers in any field have the single mindedness and the ability to be totally immersed in whatever they do and hence win all the way.
• Make it a Habit. High performing students usually study regularly. They know that ‘what you give is what you get.’ Regular hours of studying will surely result in getting better grades.
• Clear Realistic Goals. Having clear goals give you a purpose to study better. They motivate you and make you to study more. Helps you to focus your energies and mind power efficiently. Set realistic goals that challenge you.
• Designed Effort. Once you have set your goal, then sit and plan on how you are going to achieve this goal, what actions are you going to take. How much time will you spend on it? Set aside some hours, each day or each week, for studying. This will help you to study regularly, preventing piling up of study-assignments during exams. Pay attention to your weak areas. Question, analyze and make plans and following them faithfully.
• Study Calmly. High performing students put in extra and regular hours of studies which does not strain them. Most students make the mistake of studying too hard or studying continuously for long time. This creates mental tension and actually slows down learning and memory. Studying should be done in a balanced manner; short breaks will refresh the brain and will help you learn more. Set aside some time for recreation or entertainment.
• Giving Importance. Students who give importance to studies perform better, score more and have less study problems. Studying gives you knowledge and skills that will remain with you for the rest of your life. It gives you career, money, financial independence, stability in life, respectability…the list is endless. When you give importance to something, you naturally focus all your attention and energy on it. You do study because your parents have asked you to do so. It’s definitely important to shape your life.
Your Thoughts Influence Your Study Success. Students whose attitude towards education is negative have mostly scored less or average marks while students who enjoy studying have always topped the class or been among the toppers. That’s why; thinking about studies as dull, boring, hard, etc. will only add more difficulties in your learning process. Love your studies the way you love your favourite music or sports. Give it the same attention and passion. After all, studies give you a qualifying degree, eligibility for job, a means to earn money and fame, independence, ability to bring up your family in future, a respectable place in the society and an opportunity to make your life more meaningful and useful. THE THREE P’S OF SUCCESSFUL STUDYING ARE: Planning, Preparation and a Positive attitude.
In conclusion, develop a positive attitude towards exams. Anxiety is just a part of the game; do not allow it control you. Face the exams with confidence. Look at exams as a means developed to help you reach your goal. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Do not compare your examination results to your self worth they are two different things. Have faith in yourself and maintain the “I CAN DO IT” attitude.
Guess what!! Edison was not a bright student. He was labeled as “slow learner” by his teachers. And was removed from school! But Edison’s mother, Nancy Elliot Edison, did not accept her son as ‘dull.’ She motivated, encouraged, taught Edison to learn at his own speed and style. She made him work and encouraged him at every step till he got the expected result. Edison got interested in learning. He became a voracious reader. And at the age of 10, he had set up a laboratory in his basement. And ultimately the world got a “Big Genius|”. The so called ‘dull student’ became an achiever; some of his inventions are the light-bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, which were brilliant creations that have made a big influence in our everyday lives. Through love, patience and belief in her son, Nancy Edison transformed Edison into a Genius from a ‘dull’ student.
The year before
• Avoid cramming. Your revision should be completed well before your exams. Concentrate on the important topics, diagrams and formulae.
• Make revision a part of your strategy for success
• Go through the summary and notes you have made while revising
• Make a list of topics you have covered, arrange it in order of priority & follow this in order in your revision too.
• Writing an answer is the best way to revise. Write out likely questions and answer them
• Practice Mathematics one hour every day to overcome the fear and anxiety.
• Set up a study schedule so you can review everything well before the exams. Plan it so that everything can be covered in the time available.
• Practice old question papers. These give you a clear clue as to what examiners generally look for.
• Memorize essential facts and formulas.
• Make up questions that you think could be on the exam day and try to answer them.
• Avoid looking for reasons not to do work
Tip: When you are well prepared you experience less stress
The mock examinations allow you to discover:-
• Your weakness in a subject
• How effective your study skills are.
• What are your strengths and weakness when working under pressure?
Day before the Examinations
• Get a goodnight’s rest before the exam. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing.
• Find out what kind of exam you are getting ready for (e.g. essay type or objective) and exactly what material will be on the test.
• Organize everything you need.
• Prepare yourself mentally by briefly reviewing the main points in your notes.
On the day of the examination
Begin the exam day with a good breakfast.
Ensure that you have completed the final revisions
Have a few notes to revise from.
Get the materials organized.
Make sure that you eat sensibly and drink plenty of water.
If tense – practice deep breathing
Engage in positive self-talk
During the Examination
Do not start writing as soon as you get the test
Organize the time in the examination, so you do not run out of time before completing the paper.
If you panic--Put their pens down and sit back for a few minutes
Practice deep breathing and focus on something positive
Do not leave the exam hall no matter how bad the anxiety feels, it will surely subside in a short span of time.
Go through the questions to make sure you have all the questions sheets.
Read the instructions carefully.
Hi-light key words like discuss, compare list…
Quickly estimate how much time you have to answer the questions
Answer easier question first to boost your confidence.
Read questions several times to be sure you understand exactly what is being asked.
Never rush through questions in a panic. Be calm and pace yourself.
Try to leave sometime before the test to review and correct errors.
If you run out of time on a certain question, leave some room to it later.
Sometimes the test gives away some of the answers.
Guess at answers only if there is no penalty for guessing.
Be on a look out for words that may provide a clue to the correct answer. Words like “seldom, generally, and tend to” often make a statement true: words like always never, and only are likely to make it false.
Before looking at the possible answers to a multiple-choice question, try to form the answer in your mind. Then look at the choices given.
Do not change an answer that comes to the mind first unless you are absolutely sure that it is wrong.
As far as possible limit your answer to the prescribed number of words. However, do not try to achieve this by counting the words written. Rather, count the number of lines you have written. At the very outset, you must have an idea as to how many words you usually manage to write in one line
After the Examinations
Do not indulge in the post-mortems and comparisons with others. Review what went well in your overall approach, before and during the examination including the way you handled anxiety. Aim to improve upon that in the next examination
In a Nutshell—
Learn from your past mistakes
Be persistent and consistent
Avoid looking for reasons not to do work
Plan your time effectively
Remember to always encourage yourself for every effort you have made to better your grades.
Have faith & believe in yourself that you can achieve whatever you set your mind on.
Do not be discouraged by failure, immediately start working on your weak areas
Have a positive attitude towards your goal & be responsible for whatever you undertake
We become what our attitudes are. So change your attitude.
All the best!!