How to deal with exam anxiety-the unconventional approach (Part 2)
In my last post I recommended 5 steps to deal with the exam anxiety with an unconventional approach.
In continuation with it, the 6th step is to never overdo exam preparation. You can overdo exam preparation by expecting to study for more than 6 hours in a row. Psychologists suggest that an adult’s attention span is not more than 40 minutes. This means that any thing that is studied or taught for more than 40 minutes cannot penetrate into your mind. I would recommend taking a break of 5 to 7 min after every 40 minutes to refresh yourself and make most of your time that you are investing in your exam preparation. Don't feel guilty if you are going out on the night before the exam day, as far as you are satisfied that you have achieved your ‘preparation targets’.
The next step is to set realistic targets for the exam preparation. An example of setting realistic target is to understand the concept of Porter’s Value Chain Analysis through reading at least 5 different articles (that appear on first page of Google search engine) on the Internet within 2 days. Another example is to write 500 words using Porter’s 5 Forces Model to test the clarity of your understanding regarding the model. You can set your targets as it suits you.
The 8th step what I always tell my clients to do. I stress upon embedding physical activities in their daily routines. In my opinion the best way to handle exam anxiety is to take all your stress out of your body through any activity that you're doing. For example if you enjoy running or cycling, use all the stress (or what I call negative energy) while cycling or running. This way you are actually programming your mind and body to utilize the stress on the physical activity that you are performing. Not doing so means that you are actually storing stress it in your body and it would eventually come out choosing its own way if you don’t provide it an outlet of your choice. If from day one, your mind and body are used to throw all the stress out of your body when you are engaged in any physical activity, I can guarantee you that you would never be anxious before the exam.
The next step is to program your mind to deal with the difficult situation and keep performing. For example, be prepared for the unexpected questions on the exam day. Tell yourself that even if you see a question that you not prepared for, you would not panic. It is very common for students to get easily threatened by questions that appear on the exam question paper. Experts create exam questions (rather they twist and turn the exam questions, in my opinion) to see how well a student is capable of understanding the question. If you pass through this obstacle that is deliberately created for you to test your knowledge and capability, you can see how simple and easy exam questions are! This is the reason I always tell my clients, not to see the obvious. The best way of overcoming this obstacle is to a) read and re-read the question, and b) believe in yourself that whatever and however you are interpreting the question, it is in the right direction.
Lastly and most importantly, master some mediation techniques. You can find many mediation techniques available on the Internet that work for you. For me the most effective technique is to block all the negative thoughts that would come into my mind automatically before the exam. So how do I do it is through imagining a big block that I can control and manoeuvre. If my mind tells me that I will fail the exam, I've would automatically place the big block in front of this thought. It seems kind of funny, but trust me it works. Of course with any technique, you need to do it several times before actually mastering it.
Your comments, queries and suggestions are welcomed.