What did I tell my neighbour

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What did I tell my neighbour

Before she appeared for her 10th school final exams

With school matriculation final exams around the corner, students who are gearing up to appear for the exams, are a little nervous and confused, as well. Some of those have approached me for advice on how to get rid of their nervousness. To my surprise, almost each of them I met seems to be clueless. They just want to study hard. In fact, parents too, endorse the notion that studying hard alone will lead their children to outright success. Let me tell you – you also need to brush up yourself psychologically, before you sit inside the examination hall. 

 Image credit: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

There have been many instances, and I had witnessed firsthand that students who only study hard don’t do too well in exams. When I was in school preparing for my 10th final, I had one batch mate, who was extremely studious. He would wake up in the morning, study till the time he decides to get ready for school. Once the school finishes, he would go back home, eat his lunch, and then again sit down with his books. His study sessions would include private tuitions in the evening, and then again back to books till the time he would go to sleep. 

Now that was not helping him. His thoughts became too busy. There was no respite for my friend. The physical and mental fatigue was taking a toll on him. It all meant that psychologically he became too weak to know what was happening around him. Also, the fact that his mind was not able to absorb the things he was taking in. Unfortunately, when the final results came, he, to the surprise of everyone, failed. This is not the way anyone should prepare for the exams. 

One should understand that the mind needs to have enough space so that it is able to acquire learning portions. The more your mind is relaxed, the more you will be able to absorb. Learning is a complex mechanism. In order to get the most out of it, your senses should be ready. Your readiness arrives, only when your mind is relaxed, and confident.

How not to get nervous

I am a regular badminton player. I play amateur tournaments occasionally. In the beginning, before a match I would feel somewhat nervous. Though, not greatly, but still enough, to cast my mind off the match. I would become overly cautious. And in doing so, I was interfering with the natural inclination to play shots with ease, and ; therefore, I committed mistakes. 

And then, I decided to practise my movements separately, not on the courts, but in my backyard. Slowly, my mind was occupied with thinking about my movements, and how will I eventually reach the shuttle, rather than thinking how I will play the shots. This actually helped; it helped me to concentrate on the movements even in matches, because, anyhow, I would play the shots. It was the practise of the movement, which helped me to focus, and then I felt that I was not nervous anymore.

It is exactly the same when you enter into the examination hall. Nervousness crops up due to a wrong preparatory process. If you ask any student, what have they done to increase their chances of performing better in the coming exams, not one of them will tell you about the psychological preparation. They would explain just the hours they have put through, and parts of modules they have covered.

That’s the problem. My advice for all those who are struggling to get their nerves under control - don’t think too much into your exams. It’s easier said than done. However, you can simultaneously create a different preparatory process. 

The best way would be to solve the previous year’s test papers, with a timer right in front of you. If you can do it regularly, even though, you may not be right every time, but the confidence to complete the test papers on time, can be infectious. It will remove the doubts that crops up normally during the examination period. You will be ready to face the exams. You know in hindsight that you had solved similar papers earlier, and this time, you can do it more efficiently. That’s how the tension vanishes away. 

It’s lack of knowledge on what to do next, which can be frightening. And if someone can deal with it effectively it will help him get rid of his nervousness.

Visualize your success

I don’t find students visualizing their success. If you can believe that you will succeed, and see where your success will lead you to, then there’s a greater chance that you will face your exams with a positive mindset. It could help you to clear off tough hurdles even in the midst of exams. There will be times when you may find that you don’t know some of the answers to the questions, now if you have the positive intent and if your confidence is rooted to your visualization of success, there’s a chance that it will not affect you to answer other questions.

This aspect is the key to facing exams. It will keep you in the right frame of mind. Remember, there is little time for you to answer the questions. You can’t let your mind wander off. If you let your mind fly, then you waste valuable time, and that could mean utter failure. 

Failure and success are part of life, but you can’t bring this rule along with you into the examination hall. The whole idea here is to give your best. And to give your best you have to be prepared well. 

By Rajiv Sighamony

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