Friday, March 14, 2014

Success Mantra to Take Exams Efficiently

It is examination season. Anxiety is building up, followed by excessive stress and sleepless nights not only for the students but also for their parents and even teachers. Here are a few easy and practical tips to overcome examination-related anxiety, reduce stress and get excellent grades in your forthcoming examination.

1. Focus on quality rather than quantity: Instead of counting the number of hours you study in a day, focus on how many chapters you complete thoroughly. Because, it may happen that you sat all day long, but could not concentrate well for some reason or another.

2.Divide the portion into bits: Divide the whole syllabus into three categories depending upon the marks carried by each chapter in your exam question paper, namely—high weighting (In India--weightage), medium weighting and low weighting chapters. The chapters in the ‘high weighting’ category should be studied, understood, and absorbed first, then the medium weighting ones, and at last, the low weighting ones.

3.Time management: The key to success in any exam is the proper management of time during your exam. The answers to the questions you are best at should be solved first. The next should be to attempt the questions with more marks, then those where your awareness is just okay type; and at last, a few minutes should be kept secure for re-reading the whole answer sheet, tying the supplemental sheets along with the main sheet, and just browsing through the whole answer sheet before final submission. Always try to attempt all the questions irrespective of whether you know the answer properly or not. Just try to recall the stuff from your memory, and I am sure, in most cases you will be able to recollect the information.

4.The “Write” Attitude: I have noticed this tendency among the students who come to me for examination counseling that they learn their answers very well, but are not able to recall or write during their main exam. The simple reason is they feel very confident when they learn the answers, and most students have a very good learning capacity. But if they have never tried to write the answers at home, they will not be able to reproduce the same in the examination hall. Write each and every answer at home with time management technique I discussed in the earlier point.

5.Sleep less, suffer more: Those who do not get enough sleep before and during their exams encounter issues like reduced concentration and recalling capacity, going blank during the exam, general anxiety symptoms like sweating, irregular heartbeats, fluctuation in blood pressure, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, low or excessive hunger, low or excessive sleep etc. Therefore, it is very important for a student to have proper sleep.

6.Eat wisely: I would suggest that you break the meals into small portion sizes at frequent intervals, and time them wisely. Try to avoid fried and spicy food items. Include more of fresh veggies, fruits, dry fruits, soups etc. Having dinner around 7.30 or 8 pm will keep the digestive process at ease. For in-between snacks, consider having fruit bowl, a fistful of nuts and dry fruits. Avoid outside food as far as possible.

7.Hygiene levels: Maintain proper hygiene. Take bath every day. High standards of hygiene, if followed, will guard you against infections. The feeling of cleanliness has got a lot to do with your overall feeling of well being. When you look clean and well groomed, you feel confident! And, self-confidence is the key to success.

8.Concentration Enhancers: Take short breaks after every 45 minutes of studies. Take a few deep breaths to aid oxygenation in your brain. You may also do “Netrasnan” to freshen up your eyes. Basic meditation for ten minutes will help you increase focus, keep calm, feel relaxed and recall better before and during your exams. A small nature walk also enhances concentration.

9.Book Closure: Close your books at least two hours before your exam time. What you found difficult throughout the year will seem even more difficult at this time. Just forget about it, and focus on what you know better. Resist the desire to revise just before your exam. To achieve this goal, avoid carrying any books to the examination center.

10.Say no to discussions: Yes, do NOT participate in any last minute discussions with any fellow student on what he or she has prepared or left, what can be asked in the exam paper, which chapters are very important, etc. Such stuff will only increase your anxiety level if you happen to leave that particular topic for reasons best known to you.

And the final word: Be happy and confident about yourself. Give your best. We are all different, with different sets of talents, capacities, and strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, recognize your own power, and do the best. Here, I would like to reinforce the saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” Sometimes it may happen that for fear of being scolded by your parents, you tend to hide yourself behind the closed doors of your room, and pretend that you are studying, while you are busy texting on your cell phone, chatting with friend/s on social networking sites, or just relaxing, doing nothing. This tendency creates chaos in your emotional world because you know that you were simply pretending to study. The best way to deal with such a situation is to close the books, and come out of the room, sit, talk with your family, take a short break or watch a little TV etc.

A word of caution for parents: I understand the anxiety parents go through. But they should also understand that no one can study 24*7. Let your child take breaks at regular intervals. Know your child’s capacity and expect only what he or she can achieve. Cheer your child up, and provide emotional support. Heated arguments, comparison with other children, throwing tantrums on children, emotional outbursts, and unattainable demands are strict no-no for parents. Be their friend, help them achieve their best. This will bring peace, harmony and success in everybody’s life in the family.

To help yourself, you may like to have a look at my video on YouTube. This is a calming meditation video. You may get the link by typing “Manisha Anwekar” in the YouTube search bar, or just type “Meditation for Success in Exams.” The link is also given here for your ease--

Should you need any further assistance, please feel free to contact me on 

I wish you my best!