Some succeed because they are destined to; but most succeed because they are determined to. Ultimately, all depends on how determined we are to be successful.
Grace Lichtenstein has rightly said, “Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high-jump; YOUR OPPONENT IS YOURSELF, your negative internal voices Vs your level of determination.” How true this is for each of you students who are on the verge of taking yet another; but a very important examination of your academic career.
The mindset however of most of you students is in the mode of comparison with your friends and colleagues comparison to compete and outperform them. We fail to understand that Winning doesn't always mean being First; winning means you have done better than you have done before. After all, our greatest glory is in never failing but in rising every time we fall.
Preparing For Exams:
By now most of you would be through with your basic and first round of preparations. Start a revision program in good time before the exams. Do not get stuck to a particular topic/chapter/subject too long. Instead move on. Writing rather than reading is a key at this hour.
One Mock-Paper A Day (A Month Before The Exam)
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is what you have heard for good health. I would rather say, "One mock exam a day keeps the stress away".
Even the best of the cricketers of the world ensure rigorous net-practice before each match. They don't just see the glimpses of their previous matches where they scored centuries. Writing papers and solving them is like the net-practice. What you do is watch your previous matches i.e. keep reading the same matter again and again and claim that you are revising. Its not how much more you revise matters; but how little you need to revise and how much more time you can devote for writing mock-exams at home matters more than anything else. Also ensure that you write paper at that time of the day when you generally feel sleepier. This will automatically help you to stretch your study hours without too much of stress. Ensure that you artificially, set a time of 11am whenever you start writing a paper. This will help your body-clock to get used to 11-2 time frame for an exam.
Organizing Your Space
Organize your space even if you have a small room to do so. Think about where you work. See if you can separate out the places where you work from the places where you relax. Create a working place (around a desk/table) which contains your books, papers, etc. Move all distractions out of your work area pictures, music, TV and put them in your relaxation area and vice-versa. This will help not just in a physical separation but will also aid the same mentally.
Organizing Your Time
You may divide the week into 21 units (3 per day). You may plan for about 15-18 units per week, as it has been shown that ability to work effectively over a prolonged period decreases over this level. Most of the times our plans go wrong because they were planned too tightly and did not allow for sufficient flexibility; plans need plenty of blank space to allow for the unexpected.
Some people struggle with a lack of motivation. These simple strategies may help:
Plan rewards for yourself when you have achieved goals. Start with easier/more interesting subject. And establish a work routing-once started, a routine becomes easier to maintain. Remind yourself why you have chosen to do these exams if you do not want the qualification you do not have to do them!
People vary in how long they can concentrate so experiment and find a work pattern that suits you. If you are finding it very difficult to concentrate, start off by setting yourself a small, manageable goal. As you achieve your goals, gradually increase what you set out to do. In this way you can train yourself to concentrate more effectively.
Try to revise in an active way; do not just read notes through, but perhaps make a list of key points. Some people find it helpful to use memory aids such as memorizing a "trigger-word" which is associated with a chunk of information, making a trigger word out of the initial letters of key points or names; or finding a way of visualizing information.
Don't work in or on your bed keep bed for relaxation and sleep. Switch off before going to bed: stop working at least an hour before you intend to sleep and spend the time doing something more relaxing eg. Listening to music, talking to a friend, having a bath, doing relaxation exercises, taking a stroll. If you stick to a regular bed-time and waking-up time, it will be easier to maintain good sleeping patterns.
On The Day Of The Exam
Most students goof up at the very end. THOMAS EDISON has rightly said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up". We try and do the most complex and forget the simplest things. Revising everything leads to probably remembering hardly anything. Try to minimize your study on the day of exam and be as normal as you can. Go to the exam hall in the most casual manner and ensure that even the writing instruments like pen, pencil, etc. are used earlier by you, so as to get used to them. Most of us buy new instruments at the start of our examinations which is not quite correct. Remember, even the best of batsman "season their bats" by playing a few strokes during net practice before playing a match. Finally the time will arrive for which you have burnt the mid-night oil throughout the year. Always remember, it is those three hours that will matter the most. After all, it's how you perform in the match that matters; not how you prepared for it! "GO GET IT. YES YOU CAN!"
If You Start To Panic During An Exam
In an examination situation it is not uncommon for one's mind to go blank for a moment, or to be confused by a question put in an unfamiliar way. First, pause for a few moments; put your pen down and sit back; slow your breathing down a little. Let your body relax. Push upsetting thoughts to the back of your mind and re-focus your attention on relaxing, and then back on the exam itself. No matter how bad the anxiety feels, do not leave the exam as the anxiety level will fall within a short space of time. Panic is always time limited and the symptoms will reduce in a short while. When you are able, get back to work remember that it is better to put something down rather than nothing.
After the examination
Before the day of the exam, it can be a good idea to decide what you are going to do immediately after the exam ends. Standing around and joining in with others' delight or dismay is almost always discouraging. If you have something already planned you can simply leave others to do the post-mortem, while you go and do something more enjoyable. Stephen Covey has rightly said, "Live out of your imagination, not your history."
I would like to say that these are only certain parameters which you can ponder upon. Ultimately, when we learn to swim, we are just taught hand and leg movements. These tips are like that. What will actually matter is your determination to swim across the ocean of examination and emerge victorious on the other side of the shore. I am sure you can and you will succeed on your path towards glory. Always remember,
If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don't. If you want to win, but think you can't, It's almost an inch you won't. If you think you'll lose, you're lost; For out in the world we find, Success begins with a fellow's will; It's all in the state of the mind. Life's battles don't always go to the stronger and faster man, But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.