Exam: 10 Important Things You Should Not Think About

exam skills, writing an exam, exam tension, dont do this in an exam, exam tricks, clearing an exam, acing an exam


I do understand that writing an exam is a very tedious affair and sometimes it is a very challenging one too and the pressures are really high when the amount of time you have spent on it and the dependence you have for the exam. But the tricky thing is that, these pressures instead of acting for you, very decidedly act against you! That was the reason why we wrote a post on HOW TO BE EXAM CONFIDENT.

Following on similar lines, here is a post on the things you should or should not be thinking about while you write an examination.

1) What the exam means to you!

I understand if the exam means the world to you and also if it is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in your life. Frankly every exam feels like that and at that stage in our life, the exams do seem the single most important thing. However try not to think about it at the time of an examination. There is no way it is going to release you out of the stress.

2) What if you don’t make it?

Well this is the lousiest question you can ask yourself while writing an exam. If you make it – you make it and if you don’t- You Don’t. That is the start and the end of it. You cannot let a thought like that destroy you or your idea of an exam and your performance as well. The very thought is going to put you in a negative spiral and you would end up wasting a lot of time thinking about the alternatives while you should be thinking about the alternatives for the question or the answer. Focus is primary in an exam and you better do it on the question paper than the other distractions you have around or create for yourselves.

3) When the new spiderman movie is releasing!

Well even if it releases now, there is no way you can watch it while you are writing the exam. It may be anything, it maybe your personal life or fight with a girlfriend or a friend who needs your help it can be anything. But when you are writing the exam, the deal is between you and the exam only and nothing else. If there is anything else that can bother you while you are trying to find an answer to a question, you need to hold yourself together. There is no way you can succeed if you brood over all these while the exam is right in front of you and time is ticking.

4) What the results can be?

Well, the results can be anything, the valuators might either be strict or lenient. It is not something which is in your control. You have to look at the bigger picture and you have to identify the most important thing while writing an exam – Your TIME! The moment any focus goes out from the time zone to any other zone, you are landed in for trouble.

Preparation is one part of an exam, its execution is an equally important part. Do not worry about the things that are not in your control, you cannot bring them into order. But do worry about the things that are in your control. That way you can make a shift and you can make it work for you.

5) How hard you have worked and what you could have done better! 

This is one question which every person taking the exam faces. If you have worked really very hard and things are not going your way, the first thing that comes to your mind is a tiny bit of remorse that you could have worked a little harder and maybe studied that one bit, maybe you could have sacrificed something else to realize this one segment.

The other thought can be the fear of doing it again, going through the same process again and putting in so much of effort and sacrifice. Well, my friend, this is not the time for it. You have better things to do right now. Let the bygones be bygones. There is no way you can make a change there. Think about what best you can do with the resources at hand and things in your control. You need to sideline everything else and look at the one thing that matters the most, the exam and the exam alone. Everything else can wait.

6) What if my arch enemy knows this answer! 

We all have our arch nemesis, the ones we hate for their academic performance, the ones we look at as competition, the ones we would love to beat and show how good we are and the reasons why we are better than them. Well, it is a noble competition but not something which is going to help you when you are writing an exam. If it so happens that you are stuck at a question you do not know an answer  for, the very thought that your competition might can send you down a spiral. Forget about him or her, you are a far more mature individual than that. You need to pull yourself together and realize that the competition is just between you and you alone and none else!

7) How my parents will react to this! 

How will they react if they know that I did not score well, what will they tell me? What if my friends mock me for not doing well. How will the society treat me and what if my peers make fun of me. I agree that such thoughts do come in once in a while. But again you can’t let that bother you. If it comes to that bad a stage then you will handle it when it comes. This is not the time for overthinking, this time is dedicated only for action and action alone, everything else in the world can wait..

And if you are still overthinking, here is a post that will help you around it – 9 WAYS TO STOP YOU FROM OVERTHINKING

8) How an ideal answer should look like! 

This is for the perfectionists, who have a set definition as to how an answer should look like and how it will be valuated while it is graded for marks. I do agree that it is important to know the important factors for an exam and the basics as to what is expected out of you, I would like to point out that it is just the basics and nothing more than that. There is a set format and you have been preparing for the format for as long as you know. Naturally you have it as a part of you to know what is expected and train yourself accordingly. You don’t need to be very conscious about that while writing the exam.

Don’t worry too much about your handwriting or drawing neat lines or margins or any other beautification factors. If you have time for it, do it, if you don’t – then don’t sweat. It is again about setting the priorities right – the answer, then its beautification.

9) If you are stuck with a question

If you are stuck at a place for a long time and you feel that a simple push can get you there and this keeps happening for a considerable time, then set a deadline for it- maybe 1-2 mins depending on the type of your exam and move on. You can always come back to it. And if you cannot come back to it, it is still ok because it is still just one question and you cannot sacrifice simpler and easier questions for the sake of one tough one, esp in an exam where each question is marked equally. And even if it is not, don’t spend too much time worrying about one question, that one thing is still smaller than 2-3 simpler ones.

10) Meditate, concentrate, sing to yourself 

No matter what it is that brings your focus to the exam, do it. The examination is more of a testimony to tell you how well you have trained yourself for the pattern. It is never a judgement or an understanding as to who you are as a person, it is not a measure of how intelligent you are. It is just a matter of testing how well equipped you are, so stop taking it personally. The battle is between you and the exam and that is all there is you need to know.

So go ahead and do it!

We'd love to hear your thoughts below..

  1. Yet another Gem post from you Vinay. You said it right, if a person will think these things how can he or she be able to right the papers properly? So during an exam, just focus on what you studied and respond accordingly…

    • Thank you Alok :).. I think the not to do category catches some good attention and it was fun writing this one.. Have something in mind for tomorrow in the not to category :).. Hopefully that will work well too 🙂 ..

  2. That was a great post truly!! Rightly said. Love your objective analysis. Focus on the paper and nothing else is the key here

    • Thank you Datta :).. I have always loved going to the depth of things and somehow it feels a lot of fun that way :D.. After screwing up so many exams, I guess it is about time that I should learn something from that right? 😉

  3. Thank you Shahen for such kind words. I took an exam a couple of weeks ago and I felt that I really should write about the experience of an exam. I really did enjoy writing and I am glad to know it is of value and has a bit of relate able content as well 🙂 . .

    Kindly do share the link with me when the post is out, would love to read and share more 🙂