To properly prepare for an exam, it is necessary to have enough time. That’s the first thing, where we dedicate time to work on the material (read, underline, summarize or outline) and time to memorize the information.
At the same time, it is very important to review the information studied, and NEVER leave the review until the last morning or afternoon before the exam, as this will make us very nervous and will question what we know. The review must be done during the study process.
To this we must add healthy leisure activities. Not by spending more time studying we will perform better. The priority is the quality of the time dedicated, not the quantity. It will be essential to have regular sleep schedules and eat in a balanced way (you always have to have breakfast the morning before the exam), key aspects to good academic performance.
What is essential to manage the pressure, stress and/or anxiety of this exam period?
The first thing to understand is that in the face of an exam (or any situation that involves an evaluation for me) it is normal for us to be activated, in fact, this is good because it prepares us for action. If one insists on not feeling that activation (or what we normally call being nervous or anxious) the opposite happens, that is, we get even more nervous. It is essential to prepare very well for my exam, to train myself, and, as mentioned before, to sleep and eat properly, as well as to do any leisure activity that helps me to relieve pressure, for example, to practice some sport.
How can concentration be improved?
To improve concentration it is necessary to limit study time, that is, to limit what we are going to study by intervals of time, and not spend many hours working without resting. For example, set time intervals of no more than 45 minutes in a row, rest 10 minutes and do another interval. We recommend a small strategy for when you cannot concentrate well, consisting of keeping your hand busy, “if my hand is busy, my head is busy”, synthesizing or taking the main idea out of a paragraph. And if 45 minutes costs me, reduce the time to 30 minutes or even 15 minutes.
– Allot the necessary study time to do all the things you need before the exam (eg, review study material, make diagrams, review the topics, etc.).
– Frequently review the material. This will increase your confidence in yourself.
– Set study goals and face them one by one so as not to saturate yourself.
– Do the reviews with the appropriate technique: read trying to memorize diagrams and summaries, write what is remembered without the material in front of it, develop the outlined topic orally or in writing, consult, if necessary, the notes or the book, ask questions such as taking a mock test, using mnemonics to memorize difficult concepts, and spacing reviews over time.
If you feel nervous, try to relax with one of the following techniques:
– Abdominal breathing. This consists of breathing slowly, completely filling the lungs from the abdomen, something that we do not usually do in normal breathing.
– Tense and relax different muscle groups. For example, tense your shoulders for a few seconds and then let them drop. Feel the sensation of relaxation that this produces and learn to identify states of tension of the muscles to relax them later.
– If recurring and distracting thoughts appear that threaten your concentration and / or self-esteem (eg, “I am going to suspend”, “I will not have time”, “I will not be able”, etc.), you can replace them with rational responses (eg, “I have the ability to pass”, “I just need to work more”, etc.), thoughts that help you manage stress (eg, “a little activation can help me”, ” I will do the best I can “, etc.) and thoughts that help you stay focused (eg,” I can answer the question if I elaborate the answer in small subsections “). If these strategies don’t work for you, write your thoughts down on paper and keep working under the “promise” that you will deal with them later.
BEFORE THE TEST:
– Check, if you have not done it before, when is the exam, place, time, and if you need any specific material for the exam.
– Be in contact with other colleagues to avoid possible mistakes.
– Arrive with enough time to sit in a place where you are comfortable.
– The night (or morning) before, prepare everything you need (pen, ID, calculator, dictionary, water bottle, chocolate bar, especially if you pass a full-day essay exam that is authored by the Indiana Board of Bar Examiner).
– Get up early, shower, get ready, HAVE BREAKFAST, and leave with enough time to get to the faculty or school.
– Avoid those colleagues who make you nervous.
DURING THE EXAM:
Some of the relaxation techniques that you can use during the study phase can also help you during the exam. Take a couple of minutes off if you think you need to practice them. Practice abdominal breathing to regulate your activation level.
– Try to place yourself in the place that you are most comfortable / a.
– When you receive the exam, read the instructions a couple of times and organize your time efficiently.
– Start with the simplest questions, which will strengthen you and make you face the most difficult questions with greater confidence.
– Ask the teacher any doubts that arise during the exam.
– Do not rush if you see that your colleagues finish earlier, work at your own pace.
– Think before writing, draw an outline to organize the ideas and not to forget important aspects that must be dealt with.
– Write with brevity and precision, start with key concepts and develop them; if necessary, justify the answer.
– Take care of the presentation, cleanliness, order and spelling. They are essential (remember that you are not writing a message on your mobile or in the Whats App).
– Make sure you have answered the questions you wanted to answer.
– Never take a dirty test.
AFTER THE EXAM:
– Do not talk to other classmates (if this is going to harm your performance in the following exams).
– Write the exam questions that you remember or try to recognize them in your notes.
– Reward yourself with a prize.