Every person has moments of self-doubt. For some, these thoughts are quickly pass and fleeting. But, as Shakespeare puts it, others find that their “doubts are traitors” which hold them back from fulfilling their potential. Elite athletes have long known the significance of a pre-performance routine. It allows them to focus on what is significant, helping them concentrate on the task at hand and execute their knowledge and skills to the best of their abilities.
Could the similar concepts work for students before exams? With the scrapping of modular exams, more than ever students have to be able to do under stress. Unluckily, more and more of them are reporting that they feel unable to cope, let alone thrive.
Here are simple tips and ways students can follow on the mooring or lunch time before the examinations to make sure that crucial time are used to their best effect:
Breakfast is the most significant meal of the day; the gap between breakfast and dinner is the longest your body goes without refueling. Studies have shown that eating a typical breakfast of cereal, made up of difficult carbohydrates, that helps enhance concentration and memory over the course of the morning.
Still, researchers have found that those who eat a cereal breakfast regularly are “less emotionally distressed and have lower levels of perceived stress” compared with those who don’t.
Arrive at school or college with plenty of time-
Examinations are stressful enough without the added worry of running late. Lateness tends to magnify everything; if people are a bit nervous and stressed, when running late they become more so. Follow the old maxim “if you’re not early, you are late” and you will be on the right path to starting your exams confidently and calmly.
Avoid people who stress you out-
When it comes to college, the old maxim “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” seems to ring true. Research suggests professors positive comments directly affect how students feel about themselves.
On the day of your exam, think about that who makes you feel confident and calm and actively seek them out. Avoid spending the time before your exams surrounded by people (friends or otherwise) who stress you out or who are particularly negative.
Remind yourself of all your preparation and hard work-
This can be a great way to improve your confidence going into the examination hall. Taking a moment to reflect on all the hours of hard work and preparation you have put in will reassure you. This way is often used by athletes in the build-up to pressurized competitions to help them perform. Also using this time to reflect on your past successes should help enhance your confidence.
Pause for a minute and take some deep breaths-
When people are feeling pressure, they often misjudge how much time they have. This leads to them rushing and making casual mistakes that cost marks.
Focusing on taking deep breaths can act as a prompt to slow you down. Physiologically, this assists to reduce tension and lower your heart-rate. By pausing or slowing down for a moment, you let yourself time to fully assess the situation, come up with a plan and decide the best course of action.
Remind yourself of your exam strategy-
Legendary American football coach Bill Walsh wrote a great book, The Score Takes Care of itself, in which he write about his leadership philosophy. His approach was to concentrate on executing a game strategy and not concern about the number of goals. If you apply this, he says, the result will often take care of itself.
The same is true during examinations. Focus less on what marks you might get, and more on executing your exam plan. This might mean the amount of time you should spend per question or problem, reading each problem first, writing four to five minutes of rough notes before solving the long problems and any other technique. If in doubt what your exam tactic should be, ask your teachers; they will almost surely have some helpful advice for you.
When you have spent so much time for revising and working for exams, it’s a mistake to leave the last hour or two to chance. Nothing can ever promise success, but by executing the tips above, you give yourself the excellent chance of representing your knowledge when it actually matters.
When you have worked so hard revising, do not leave the last few hours before entering the exam hall to chance. Here’s how to make sure you are ready.