Exams are an unavoidable part of our academic and even professional life. The modern-day workplace with its constant demand for upskilling and updating resumes has made learning and consequently examinations, a continuous part of life’s journey. With three Masters-in-law degrees I have learned a few things which have helped me excel in exams.
How Exams Impact Us
Exams leave a lasting impression on the mind. I am sure we can all recall that one exam which haunted our dreams and led to many sleepless nights. A combination of several factors such as irregular sleep timings, worries about results and constant feeling of not having enough time to prepare for exams, makes for a potent brew which can be toxic for our health, well-being and sense of self-worth.
Tip 1: Eat-Sleep-Exercise-Repeat
Perhaps the most obvious and yet the most ignored piece of advice. It may feel like time has paused while we undergo exams, but our physical, mental and emotional needs cannot be temporarily furloughed.
Even 10 minutes of daily exercise can have a rejuvenating effect on the exam-stressed brain through release of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Regular mealtimes, making healthy food choices and staying hydrated during exam preparation will help nourish the body and keep the brain sharp and focused.
Good sleep is vital not only for health but also for memory. Research has found that deep sleep contributes to memory consolidation which aids active recall of facts and figures during exams. Deep sleep accounts for 13 to 23 per cent of overall sleep and can only be achieved if you have 7-8 hours of sleep so it is crucial to get those hours in!
Tip 2: Don’t Worry, Be Ready
Counterintuitively, I find it useful to have tunnel vision about upcoming exams than letting my mind be occupied with post-exam ‘what ifs’: What if I don’t get good results? What if I get good results in this one, but not the other one? It is also just as easy to get carried away with daydreaming of the freedom which awaits post exams.
Both drain our energy and focus from the present. A dear friend of mine put it quite accurately when he asked, ‘Pari, isn’t there enough to do already? Why should I let my mind be distracted by what I cannot control, like my results? All I can do is to give my best in the present moment’. Similarly, all I could do was agree with my friend.
Tip 3: Daily Shooting Star
I am sure we’ve all felt drained of colour and light during exam season. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Plan a moment in your day which helps you be joyful. Like a shooting star, let it be short but bright so it can dispel away exam blues. For me this varied depending on how many pages of law I had to peruse on a particular day. On some days it was painting my nails with gold glitter and on others writing thankful postcards to loved ones for their love and support during exams.
Make room every day for self-love, gratitude and all the other things which remind you that even through difficult times, abundant joy can be found in little things and created through little ways.
Tip 4: Conjuring Excellence with Meditation
Heartfulness practices made the single greatest contribution to my well-being and performance during exams. The inner condition I acquired each day following morning meditation became my anchor, calming me as the tempest of exam season raged on. I could always rely on guided Heartfulness Relaxation to help me swiftly fall asleep or Heartfulness Rejuvenation practice to fade out the unhelpful inner critic which made me doubt my own capabilities. Heartfulness Prayer gave me the strength to keep moving forward and the space to be kind and forgiving to myself on days where I felt I was not as productive.
With these techniques you can certainly cast your way to exam excellence.
Experiment with Heartfulness and observe the changes for yourself.
And finally, good luck! I am sure you’ll be just fine.
Also Read: 90days of heartfulness practice