This is my personal opinion based on my experiences. Plus, the advice from teachers and peers has been helpful.
Exams are around the corner to suck the life out of you. What takes the toll is not necessarily the exams but the preparation process. When I was preparing for my CBSE board exams, we were pressurised by both teachers and non-teaching staff into believing that it is the one stage in our lives that will determine our future. It is their indirect way of saying “study hard, it is for your own good“.
I have had a lot of a tension while doing both 10th as well as 12th-grade board exams. In fact, during the 12th-grade exams, I was so stressed that I had to talk to a counsellor who gave me the best advice ever – “You have no control over what will happen. So, neither should you worry about it not should you blame yourself for it.”
I found out about the effectiveness of this practice very late in school. Every time I studied in the evening, I would get lower marks as compared to when I would wake up early to study. It is a habit that helped most of my friends as well. When you wake up early in the morning, your brain is fresh and ready to go, so whatever you learn then will be imprinted fresh in your brain. This learning process will add confidence to your mind and will help in overcoming exam stress.
When your body muscles work, blood flow will be faster and the brain gets fresh blood faster. This helps in the process of memorising. Most parents tend to restrict children from playing and physical activity during exams. One of the major disadvantages of children taking tuition is the lack of opportunity they get for physical exercise. Even if you don’t go to the gym then just brisk walk around your house or on the road for 15-20 minutes, it will help you.
When I was in 7th grade, we were asked to prepare study timetables. The laziest person in my class prepared the best timetable, only that he didn’t follow it. So when preparing a study timetable, prepare it according to how you can manage. You don’t have to study for 10 hours a day for the sake of it. 1-2 hours of effective learning is much better than over stressing yourself with “10 hours” where nothing enters your brain. It is like riding your bike with an unstrapped helmet. The girl who attained 2nd rank in my school just studied 3 hours a day and she watches a lot of films and is also a bibliophile. The reason she scored well is simple, she kept up a steadfast routine.
This process helped me a lot while preparing for my 12th-grade Physics exams. Physics was a very difficult subject for me but I managed to ace it during in the final exams. I skipped most of the easy portions for the last and focussed on the difficult ones. I repeated the process and the exams became much smoother. Even if you find it difficult to learn the portions then leave them out, and throw all your energy on those portions you understand and learn better.
Sleep is mandatory. Some students have the tendency to break their sleeping routines and study in between. Just make it from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Your brain will be fresh and relaxed. Sleep also helps in assimilating all that you learned in long-term memory and you remember better during exams.
Dark chocolates release cortisol which helps in improving memory and also helps in releasing endorphin. Endorphin is a natural stress fighter and pain killer. Eat a chunk of dark chocolate before studies and while studying. Don’t overdo it though, cavities and diabetes are real issues.
Classical music and other piano/sitar/violin combinations will help in relaxing your brain and create a positive thinking process. Some songs have been scientifically proven to enhance happiness.
But, make sure that they are helpful enough. Sometimes people tend to say something that is meant to motivate you but it ends up doing exactly the opposite. That is a major role played the elders in our house. You may talk to a counsellor if you want but keep your friends close.
Some circumstances are difficult for you. You need not cut ties but make sure it does not create a negative space in your mind. If you don’t want something then just leave it. Some TV programs and other platforms tend to do that. My personal opinion is – don’t read newspapers when you are preparing for the exams. Similarly, TV serials, if there’s anything then wait for the whole season to come on DVD or in hot star and then watch it. This is something you can do after exams.
When you prepare for exams, you are asked to leave out entertainment like video games, films, games, junk food and reading. There is no point in leaving it all out completely. What you can do is, continue the activities just don’t let it take up most of your time. Just stick to your timetable.
Do well for your exams and remember, even if you fail, the opportunities will not stop. Don’t give up and give your best.