No one likes exams. Even if you are extremely well prepared, as the exams approach you are bound to feel a little scared. And if you know that you are not as well prepared as you should be – you can feel like you are living in a nightmare.
There is no doubt that regular study – with a systematic approach to every subject and lots and lots of practice is the best way to prepare for exams. However, when you are just a few weeks away from exams – instead of crying about what you haven’t done and drowning in anxiety by imagining extreme situations and worst case scenarios, the smart thing to do is – to utilise the time you have left effectively and do the best you can.
Follow this 5 Point Plan for effective last minute study
Pamper your Brain – you are going to need it
The brain is the one organ in your body that you are going to need the most to do well in your exams and it must be kept in top notch condition. Nutritious food and adequate sleep are the two things that the brain really needs to function optimally – but these are usually the first things to be sacrificed when there is a lot to study.
Do not neglect meals. Eating nutrient rich meals at regular intervals is the key to remembering all that you study. Remember – complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals are all essential. Restrictive diets or junk food diets are extremely harmful for brains that are trying to learn and remember.
Sleep is just as essential because a tired brain cannot learn and remember like it should.
Fear makes us run away from what is scary and so we often tend to neglect subjects that we are weak in. This is a big mistake.
The board exam results are an aggregate percentage of all your subjects and doing very badly in one subject can ruin your overall result – even if you have done extremely well in the other subjects. Make sure you study all the subjects and all the chapters of each subject and don’t ignore diagrams, tables and graphs.
Allocate time to each subject depending on how much syllabus there is and how good you are at that subject.
Spend more time on your weak subjects
When the exams are around four weeks away - start preparing for them in the reverse order. Prepare first for the last exam and plan it such - that you start preparing for the first exam about 2 weeks before the date.
Write formulae, theorems, definitions and other points that you tend to forget – in bright colours on chart paper and stick them in your room where you will be able to constantly see them
Remember that quizzing yourself on what you have learnt is a more effective way of revising than simply rereading everything repeatedly.
Use question papers of the previous years to revise as it is likely that several questions may be repeated.
Also, study in 3 hour slots so that it helps you practice the intense concentration that you will need during your exams which will be of the same duration.
The stressed brain does not work well.
While it is impossible not to feel stressed about exams - it is important to actively try to minimise the stress. One of the best ways to reduce the fear of what may happen in the future – is to plunge into action in the present moment. And therefore the only way to reduce exam stress is to study.
Stop comparing yourself with others. What another person is doing, has done or may do in the future is not going to change your result. Concentrate on doing what you can do. Forget about others.
If you feel the stress mounting take a break from studying and go for a short run or walk. If that does not help speak to a parent or teacher who you think may be able to help.
Focus on the task at hand in the exam hall
However much or however little you may know in a subject – what you write in the exam and how well you present it - is what really matters. Read the question carefully, answer to the point and write neatly without cutting and scribbling.
Always get enough sleep before your exams. And never go to the exam hall on an empty stomach.
Put your best foot forward as you prepare for your exams and tackle them, but remember that a poor result is not the end of the road. Exams are just a sample of the challenges that will be thrown to you later in life – they are designed to prepare you to meet these challenges.
Thoughts determine action – action determines outcome. Always remain positive.