Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Overcoming Stress in Your Exam

Many university or college students in Malaysia are having their exams in the next couple of weeks ;so the anxiety is running high. You may have read or listened to zillion of advice about the stress in an examination but many of you will put your thinking into a sleep mode just not to add more stress. I can’t blame you for that but you also need to realize how important to treat your stress properly as not to avoid the probable “black out” during the exam. If for any reason you want to quit reading this and go back to playing Farmville or whatever games you guys are into these days, then remember one thing---the more confident you have about the materials you have studied, the less stress you will be---so build more confident in you (and insyALlah) you will ace the exam.

The stress will get into you sooner or later; it is natural because man will become vulnerable for anticipating things of great uncertainties. The exam is one example of such uncertainties that our students have to face every now and then. Adult students will cope with this anxiety much better than their younger friends. I guess experience teaches us a lot how to relax and take the challenge of the exam more easily. Sometime students perspire until soaking wet, having a pounding headache all of the sudden, growling stomach ache, moving about excessively, smoking and jittering. Those are all the physical symptoms that we may have experienced right before the exam. My hands would be sweaty and my stomach would be twisted like twisting a wet towel---the pain was unbearable. But you know just let your body feel some of the stress; it’s natural because after a while it will be gone, only if you know how to control it. How to control it then? Well they are all originate from he top of your head---in your mind---so learn how to talk to your mind once in a while. Be positive. Get rid of the bad talk---“I don’t know it well enough---should have studied more---what if I freeze—I am dumb---no good---he is better than me—if I fail, I am worthless---it ‘s the end of the world”. How do you get rid of them? Well you can use a method that I developed some time ago called---method B (“B” for Belasah aje!). If you do fail, so what!—it is not the end of the world. Take my words okay, it is NOT the end of the world. You just failed that paper and not YOU as a person. Tell these things to yourself over and over again until you digest it whole-heartedly. Reduce the fear---don’t be afraid, just go for it---use method B remember!.

As the hour of your exam getting closer, your anxiety level increases and you become tense. So during the next 24 hours after you have finished studying, remember the following :

• Once you shut the book, you’re through. That’s it put a full stop and do something else.
• Go to bed early and let your body and mind rest.
• Get up in time for prayers, eat a light breakfast and prepare yourself. Don’t eat a heavy breakfast.
• Move and think calmly through out the day. Practice yourself to relax. Avoid loud music or irritating roommates.
• Don’t discuss your exam with anyone. You will feel “unprepared” and other negative thoughts will start to creep in.
• Don’t go too early to the exam hall. The hectic situation with people shuffling through notes and talking nonsense will produce more stress.
• Walk calmly and give your self enough time to arrive for the exam.
• Don’t think about the exam ; instead, think about the good things you will do after wards. Feel good about it and create a soothing ambience for yourself..

During the exam, acknowledge the fact that you probably won’t know all the answers. It sounds negative but will make you feel a lot better. To answer objective questions, you may ….

1. answer those questions you know first.
2. read the question carefully and answer on the basis of your first impression.
3. reread the question. Does your answer still seem correct?
4. Change an answer only if you are sure it is wrong and another right.
5. Watch for words like only, always , never.
6. Leave those questions you are not sure of and go on. Answering other questions will sometimes clarify ideas.

For the essay questions, you might want to …

1. Plan your time. Allow specified amount of time for answering each question and stick to this schedule.
2. Answer the questions you know first.
3. Read the question carefully. Express its meaning in your own words to make sure you understand all of its parts.
4. Outline your answer on a scratch paper so that you can organize your thoughts. Note key points, names and words.
5. Make your answers specific. Clarify by use of examples when possible.
6. Watch spelling, punctuation and format.

Above all take it easy and have fun in your exam. Leave it to fate; Allah will show the way. Good Luck.