A lot of us are hardwired to hate exam season. It is hard not to think of the million ways our exams can go wrong. What if I don’t complete the syllabus on time? What if I forget that one important formula again? What if I fall asleep on exam day? What if I forget my hall ticket? What if the examiners decide to hit you with the most difficult questions out there? These ‘what ifs’ are just endless. These ‘what ifs’ are annoying. If left unchecked, these ‘what ifs’ could fill you up with a lot of unwanted stress and make it hard to focus on your preparation and performance.
Fortunately, you have a potent weapon against them: positive thinking. A positive mindset is like having protective armor; it keeps your mind clear and ready to take in and retain whatever you learn and recollect it during exams.
How to cultivate a positive mindset?
- Have a plan in place:
At first sight, your exam syllabus may seem insurmountable. A step you take at this stage is key to keeping your cool throughout the study period- planning. Break down the syllabus into manageable chunks and allocate sufficient time for each chunk. If possible, set aside extra time for each task. If you think that a task takes 2 hours, set aside 2.5 hours for it.
- Don’t forget that you aren’t alone.
Whenever you feel trapped by your looming mountain of study materials, remember that your classmates are facing the same situation. Consider forming study groups with positive-minded friends. You could help each other remain confident throughout the study sessions. You could also hold each other accountable. Also consider reaching out to your counselors. Many educational institutions have dedicated counselors to help students with their exam stress. For instance, at KGM, our student counselors are on call during the exam season.
- Keep it organized
Keeping your study space clean and organized can do wonders for your mindset. You don’t have to take the cleaning tasks to Ayudha Pooja levels. You just need a space that will help you focus better. Get all your exam essentials, like pens and hall tickets, ready to go on the evening before the exam to avoid last-minute meltdowns.
- Use fun mental tricks
A common perception is that long study sessions can be mentally numbing. This isn’t true. You could get creative and make your studying process fun. You could make a catchy song out of your fact lists. Or use aesthetic tools to make learning interesting. The ideas are endless. Of course, remember to keep your time constraints in mind.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself with regards to other routines
You might have an exercise routine or other tasks that demand high levels of energy and discipline. If you feel too stressed out, you could make your exam season a cheat season for your other tasks. Again, this doesn’t mean that you sprout roots at your study table. Moderate exercise is important to keep your mind fresh and receptive to new concepts.
- Remember to reward yourself
When you complete a task, especially a difficult one, reward yourself. But these rewards must be small and shouldn’t tempt you away from your next task. Particularly, avoid social media time. Instead, you could listen to relaxing music for a minute or two or you could go for a short walk.
- Mental holidays
There can be times when the pressure becomes too much. At such times, take a mental break. Think about things you do well, the time when you did something you are proud of, a funny anecdote, or anything that makes you smile. This will cut your downward spiral short.
- Let your family and friends know your plan
This will avoid your parents from worrying about your preparation and unintentionally pressurizing you. It will also let your friends understand your need for distraction-free time.
- Think revision is fun
This is easier said than done. But if you train yourself to treat revision as a fun task, there is no stopping you from raking in those marks.
- Quality sleep
One last key thing for a positive mindset during exam- sleep- in the right quantity and quality.