Exam Fears: 8 Solid Last Minute Preparations

30 Minutes Before Exams

exams, last minute preparation for exams, exam tension, how to write an exam, preparing for exams, exam preparation, how to excel in examsIf you are or ever were a little nervous like I was for the exams then I am sure you might have felt atleast a bit of this!

Just about 20-30 minutes before the exams, you are either discussing with friends or looking through your notes or better yet rushing through the text book to see if there is any last minute information you can gather about a question that might or might not appear in the paper.

More so, I would like to drive the focus to that rushed time of 30 minutes and how it feels. If I recall properly, I have felt a bit of this

1) Nervousness

If I was not able to remember a point or logic or a derivation for a formula, it would freak me out a little cos it was not very clearly visible in front of my eyes.

Even the ones I was very confident of, I felt a little shudder down my spine to wonder if I forgot that and felt glad that I read it again in that span of 30 minutes and thanked myself or my friend for having done that.

This will be coupled with a slight panic when I wonder – What if I don’t remember the stuff with other questions as well, what if I am stuck like this and I haven’t had enough time to revise

2) Supremely confident

This is the other phase where someone asks a question and I feel extremely good that I am able to answer it without holding myself back and feel a little cocky as well and tell myself that I have prepared well and I should be able to do good in the exams as well.

Although it sounds like a great thing to happen, there is a little something called over confidence as well which might really backfire if not handled carefully!

3) Neither of them are really true

 Well! The simple truth is that neither of the feelings actually matter cos the truth is – there is not much you can do in those 30 minutes and there is a very little you can try and remember to reproduce on the exam paper.

In other words, it is like filling your virtual/cache memory which remembers only for a short period of time giving you a temporary fear/confidence or even cockiness to an extent sometimes. Having said that, I don’t go ahead and tell you that I don’t do any of the stuff above cos I am evolved.

Truth is, I still do all of it and it has now become a part of my routine preparation. But there is a slight beauty to it now – in the consciousness that maybe I will not let it affect me much.

Or maybe better yet – try and do something else, try and collect myself before the exam and promise myself that I am going to do the best I can instead of worrying about how much I am going to score or how it is going to affect my future. Sometimes a lot is about just living in the moment.

4) Preparation is one aspect, but… 

I know that I do sound a little high handed and feel like giving a lecture on this, but I too have suffered from the last minute packing costing me a valuable 10-15 minutes in an exam and sometimes even the crucial marks as well.

We have all been taught that content is the king when it comes to exams but something I believe we have not been taught is that presentation plays a very important role too.

I don’t mean our handwriting or underlining the answers – those are nice too but they are not presentation, I am talking about presenting ourselves in an answer or what we think about an issue and providing a balanced opinion about the same.

This perhaps makes more sense for an answer in humanities and social sciences but for the sciences, I guess it is more of the balanced approach from the basics. I guess no matter which area of study we are in, we are finally trying to put across a story and that can be in the form of a derivation or an essay but the basics cannot change much.

I promised myself that I wont swerve from the topic much, hence I try and pull myself back to the real question  – about the last minute preparations to the exams, what you can do instead of letting it affect you.

5) Is there a time when you were at your best? 

Just think about the time where you had performed best in exams. Don’t think about how you had prepared, don’t think about how much marks you had got back then.

Just think about how you felt while writing the exam, what you liked the most about it, how the confidence felt, how many times you smiled while writing an answer, how you felt when you identified the trick in the question. Just try and recollect how you felt.

6) Is there a way to recreate it?

For a moment forget that it might be the toughest paper you are answering, that is not something which is in your control.

But you certainly are in your control and that makes a lot of difference for these exams, esp the competitive ones – they just demand the best out of you and nothing short of that will do.

So, is there a way to recreate the best paper you have ever answered in your life. Just visualize you doing it, visualize you being completely in control of how you feel when you look at the questions, visualize how it would feel to do a great job at what you are focusing on.

Do it!

7) Is there a way to tell yourself how good you are at it?

We all are very talented people and we all are in our weak phases sometimes.

All we need is an inner voice which wakes us up and tells us how good we are, how capable we are and no matter how tough the paper is we can still do our best and the rest is not in our control and rightly so, but we are going to do complete justice to what we really know.

8) Can we start living in the moment?

The exam is just an exam, those 3-4 hours of your life are never going to come back to you. So, instead of thinking how this would impact your career, instead of worrying about not knowing an answer, instead of feeling completely tensed about the exams, is there a way to tell yourself that these 3-4 hrs of your life are very precious cos they are never going to come back to you. And if that is the case, why not make the best of it?

I do understand that there are a lot more emotions while writing the exams and they are never the easiest things to do. But they sure can be a lot of fun but only if you decide to make them so!

Happy exams guys 🙂

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11 Responses to "Exam Fears: 8 Solid Last Minute Preparations"

  1. Great post, Vinay. Those exam days! We do take exams too seriously.

    When in school, my mom never let us study on the day of the exams. She told us, you know everything and it’s okay to miss some things. It’s just an exam. Don’t get too involved. This worked with me through all my exams. It helped ease the tension, and exams aren’t very hard to crack if you aren’t nervous.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

    1. Thank you Kiran :). Indeed ,the exams were the single most important monster for us to conquer and life used to be centred around them, so much so that we used to discuss about it for days together even after months 😀 😀 >.

      That’s a beautiful suggestion Kiran, you are really lucky that way. Not to get too involved and just to treat it professionally is a great advice :)..

    1. Thank you Maniparna. I have loved the feel of exams and have dreaded them as well and in the end gotten better over them, So it kinda is a very nice feeling sharing my experiences about them and learnings in the process 🙂

  2. As much we understand the virtue of regularity, most of us prepare only at the last minute. May be we can concentrate better when we have no option, whatsoever, than to get ready. Nice article.

    1. Thank you Abhijit :). I agree, most of us do prepare only when the noose is tightening around our neck. And sometimes I feel that it is really a lot of fun to do things in the last minute as well, the adrenaline rush is really amazing! :)..

      I guess it is a fair mix of things and in the end, after all, it is just an exam :).. It is not like that our lives depend solely on them 🙂

  3. Nice write up Vinay, frankly you summarized everything in it. Let me tell you about myself, I normally feel nervous when I see someone preparing or reading something at last minute. As far as my conditions are concerned, I always remain relaxed before the exam, reason being, no matter how prepared I am, it won’t make my exams better, rather if I kept my calm then I can even resolve a few questions which I did not prepared earlier too 🙂

    1. Thank you Alok. I feel that too, esp when those guys ask me questions for which I do not know the answers. And then again, I am a firm believer of probability – the probability of them asking a question and the probability of that appearing in the exam, it takes quite a few odds for that to happen and somehow things have worked better that way :)..

  4. hehehhehe I can so relate the post and the after effect of the exam…Post exam – hope, worries, tension, fear, prayer and after exam – surprises…:D. Very nice writeup Vinay….. enjoyed reading it ….. 🙂


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