It is the last few days before the exam, the final moment you have been waiting for. Whether you are all prepared to take it head on, or you just can’t take the waiting anymore and want to get it over with, the last days before the exam are filled with anxiety. Your mind keeps going back to that one topic you didn’t prepare well enough for, or that one method you used just to get marks, and a million other little things keep passing through your mind. You want to read everything once again, sometimes you hope you had more time. But don’t worry. This is good. You are ready. You are just a bit nervous, which is absolutely normal. Here is what you can do in the last days before the exam to help you steady your nerves and keep calm:
Countdown to D-day
Keep calm and give the exams!
‘Am I going to be able to recall all the info I need?’, ‘I don’t think I’m ready for this!’ Thoughts like these are common as you have been waiting for this for a long time. Your friends and family reminding you time and again about how your future depends on this “one” exam keeps building up the pressure. The last days before exam can be very stressful. You have to first understand that this is not the end. It’s just the beginning and you have toiled hard for this. And if you have worked hard and honestly, you have probably had so much practice that if you cant solve a question, the other 99% applicants won’t be able to, either. Acing any exam is all about maintaining your efficiency while managing time. Don’t let the anxiety get the better of you. This is just another exam which you have been practicing for for months. There is no need to lose your confidence when feeling overwhelmed by the “official” paper.
Have a strategy in place
If you have done almost everything you can, and want to do your best in exams, here is a strategy that you could follow. As you approach the exam, gradually decrease your time of study. Let your mind roam free, let it recollect what you have studied all these days. Don’t tax your mind with new information and don’t wear it down by repeatedly revising old content; let it rest for a while. Going through your short notes is a good idea in the last few days, just to brush up on anything which may have faded a bit from your memory. Short notes are the best help to jog your memory for quick and efficient revisions – know the meaning of “short”; writing everything in really tiny font to fit into 5 pages is not the definition of short notes. Uses mnemonics or other techniques to help you remember the key points.
Also, use this time to sketch out a plan for attempting your exam. Set everything you will need for the exam aside days before the exam so as to reduce the clutter in your mind. Keep yourself well nourished and hydrated, an occasional protein bar during the exam boosts concentration. Be wary of glucose and excess sugar as it provides short shots of concentration, but then your body quickly diminishes blood sugar levels, thereby reducing your alertness.
A very good method to attempt the exam is to start with the subject of your choice, solve all the questions you know in any order, circle, LEAVE the other questions for the time being, then head to the next subject and repeat the process. In this way you have now got the marks you absolutely should have scored, and can now revisit your first subject and attempt the ones you had left out. This method will work very well with a little practice and is very useful as you are not wasting your initial time trying to solve the tough questions or worrying about the volume of questions you have left to complete.
Remember, whether the question is tough or easy, you get the same marks and you need to score the best marks, not prove anything to anyone else. So put any ego aside, and first attempt the questions you know before tackling the tougher ones.
And finally, remember that you are not competing with the paper, you are competing with your fellow applicants, so don’t make silly mistakes in questions which the masses would correctly solve – don’t overthink. It’s always better to be correct rather than fast. Also, avoid guessing. It does more harm than good.
Prepare your exam strategy for the D-Day in advance and practise it. In the end, have a good night’s sleep and give the exam your best shot!