3 Tips 1 Week Before Taking a Major Exam
Many of my students before were asking me how do I prepare for a major exam. I have answered this several times, but I have never thought before whether my answer was adequate to guide one or not.
There are several major exams I had before. In my younger years, I have attended several competitions inside and outside the city or region where I live in. I won luckily most of the time and earn a little from it. From mathematics and chemistry to history and general knowledge. Aside from the usual exams I had in the university, I took passed and topped two Philippine licensure exams in nursing and real estate. In addition, I had some language exams, which gave me reasonable positive outcomes.
After all those examination experiences, I have developed these three tips on how to prepare just before (within the last week ) a very important exam.
Sleep well and establish a routine.
One must be realistic. Hide the materials that you yourself can no longer read or study. Write down what you need to study in an hourly basis for the last week. Just run-through your resource materials. You do not have to read it one-by-one. This serves as a mental reminder to yourself that you have covered the essential topics and there is no need to worry about it. Follow the planned routine. A great tip is by doing so you make yourself more disciplined. All examinations I passed and excelled were products of discipline in both small and big things.
In addition to this, plan a routine of what you eat. A state of being less hungry works for me when I am thinking. This means heavy meals must be avoided before the time you are required to think most. Moreover, avoid having stomach problems. Eat almost the same type of food few days before the same. In this way, your digestive tract is used to it for a week. Lastly, I used to do "sugar loading." Given that almost 25% of sugar intake is used up by our brain, I make sure I have sufficient amount of it. Just take care of tooth aches, but forget about little weight gain after.
Furthermore, provide adequate time for sleep. As the days are fast approaching to the exam date, increase time for your sleep gradually. Most students deprive themselves of sleep due to last-minute preparations. If you do this, do it probably 4 to 7 days before the exam but not the last 3 days. One must wake up on the same time one must be on the exam date. Worse thing to happen is sleeping while a difficult exam is ongoing.
Observe and control your stress and anxiety.
Let others evaluate your stress. Others means those individuals, who are not taking the same test. Listen and accept their observations. Denial of the stress aggravates the stress even more. My mother always reminds me that the exams I took are all alike. She has observed me few hours before a test and perhaps has seen the level of stress I had suits for me to succeed in those examinations. Therefore, she reminds me to act the same way. I listen to her and follow her suggestions most of the time.
Anxiety affects a variety of things including your fine motor skills. Your hands are your tools to answer in an exam. If your hands trembles a lot, the mere sight of it moving such makes you more anxious and sweat. Practice controlling your hand trembles by mind control and breathing. Table tennis worked for me since I have to control my hand pretty well to keep the small ball in the table. One can try painting or writing using a blunt-tipped syringe filled with latex paint. Any activity that requires great hand-eye coordination can certainly help.
In our culture, superstitions are means to allay anxiety and increase luck. I do not believe on it, but I did it before just for the sake of doing it. Just clear your mind of anything you have not done before the exam. If the only thing left in your mind is following the superstition, then just do it, as long as it is not harmful. Do not find alibis for not passing the exam afterwards, rather focus on getting a good result for the exam.
Have a strong faith and optimism.
It is all in the mind. I always repeat it everytime I get the opportunity to talk infront of students preparing for an exam. No matter how long you studied or how much effort you exerted, it all boils down to how you perceive the exam will be. If you think you are going to pass, set and hold your thoughts unto it and you will succeed. Do not just say it, truly believe on it.
On the other hand, if you think you will be failing, then be honest to yourself and ask why to avoid it. I have always done this. I always ask myself my weaknesses in my exam preparation. Whether because I became lazy or too relaxed, I accepted the fact that it will affect the outcome of the exam. In my preparation for my real estate licensure exam, the night before the exam, I was still answering test questions that I have never encountered before. Hard thought but acceptance is a must.
Lastly, after making a self-evaluation, pray for yourself, instead of the outcome of the exam. Thank God for giving you all the opportunities until you are able to take such particular examination. Include in your gratitude the people, who helped and inspired you in the process. Moreover, forgive yourself of your shortcomings either in your personal life, or in your exam preparation. It takes humility to do so and accept that no matter how we push and prepare ourselves, God's will always prevail.
Regardless of the preparation and the outcome of the test results, one must realize a test is just a test. It does not define who you are and what you can be in the future. There are more important things than doing good or excelling in an examination. Although, this does not provide a reason for one to take an exam for granted and not prepare adequately for it.
PS: God bless you in your exam. :-)