Exam season is looming and to stay that you’re feeling stressed is probably an understatement. But feeling confident about exams is important for both our performance in the exam as well as our well being. One can’t be sacrificed for the sake of the other; the two must go together. Read on to find how.
Feeling more confident about your exams
Rule number one in feeling more confident about your exams is actually having something to feel confident about in the first place. This means that you need to be putting in the work in revising and preparing for the exam – and not just the night before either! Knowing that you began revising late will make you feel like you don’t know enough and naturally you won’t know everything in as much depth as you would like.
The fear that something you don’t understand well or you glossed over in your haphazard revision might come up in the exam paper is a sure way to feel anxious about your exam and throughout it, too. Avoid this single recipe for disaster by starting your revision early and managing your time well.
Anxious or Panicked
Whenever you start to feel yourself getting anxious or panicked about your exam, remind yourself what exams are for. Exam day is not judgement day; you are not being judged personally as an individual. Remember that the examiners don’t even know your name – they only know your candidate number, so this is not a test of your character.
It’s an opportunity for you to showcase what you have learnt. Talk to yourself out loud for this process as this will help your externalise your fears about the exam and manage them more easily. It is also harder to lie to yourself when you talk out loud which will allow you to deal with all of your fears truthfully.
Thinking about what others are doing or not doing is also another trap that can make you feel less confident about your exams. Try not to think about that person who is drinking copious amounts of energy drinks and staying up day and night and also about that person who may not be doing any work – or doesn’t even have to take the exam.
You will make yourself feel miserable thinking about how you have to take the exam and others don’t or that others may be preparing more than you. This is your journey, so focus on your own goals. People also tend to over or underestimate how much work they are actually doing for the exam so don’t get yourself worked up over something that may not even be entirely true.
Once you’ve controlled your thoughts and have prepared all that you need for the exam, it is important to be able to control your emotions. First, take care of the necessities: ensure that you’ve had a sufficient meal, are well rested and hydrated.
After that, you have to make sure that you stay calm and the key to this is, not surprisingly, deep breaths - but not so deep that you feel your whole chest moving. Breathe deep enough that you are just about aware of your breathing. Meditation or a small, quiet walk in the fresh air can also help with this.
CALM AND CONFIDENCE
All of the above are useful in maintaining calm and confidence but it can all be displaced once you sit in an exam hall full of hundreds of students and begin to panic.
The panic once you’re in the exam hall comes from the daunting realisation of its sheer size and formality which makes it all the more real. To combat this fear, imagine that you are back in the classroom with your teacher and treat this like any of the other essays or practice questions that you’ve done.
Finally, remember that you can only do your best and that it is okay to make mistakes which are inevitable because you are only human.