Managing exam meltdown

2016-10-19 06:00

IT is that time of the year again – as the Jacaranda trees bloosom (if a blossom falls on you, its good luck) and matrics throughout the country gear up to write their final examinations, Dr Gillian Mooney, Teaching and Learning Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, offers the following advice on how to cope with the stress of these exams:
• Don’t panic

If you feel panicked, take long, slow and deep breaths. Doing this will calm you physically. Getting the physical panic under control is an important step in calming your mind.

• Calm down
Once you have calmed your body, it is time to calm your mind. Give yourself a mental pep talk by repeating to yourself “I am calm. I have worked hard. I know my work”. You can also give yourself this pep talk while you are taking deep breaths.

• Get back to basics
Once you are feeling a bit calmer go back to the questions you believe you could not answer. Try to jot down anything and everything you can remember about the material. You can always cross this out to indicate that it should not be marked.

• Visualise
If you cannot remember any of the material, try to use some memory tricks to assist you. For example, try to visualise sitting in class when the material was covered, or try to picture yourself in your study area with your notes in front of you. Often thinking about the context of the material can help you to remember it.

• Reconstruct your memories
If you are able to jot down notes about the material, review these notes and see how the information you have remembered relates to the question. Try to reformulate your notes into a response to the question that was given to you.

• Remember the big picture
Keep in mind that what you are usually marked on is your ability to answer the question. In the worst case scenario, where you cannot remember a single piece of information from your course material, simply try to answer the question from a common sense perspective. You may find that you do actually know quite a bit about the question and may be awarded some marks for your general knowledge. Doing this may also prompt you to remember the course material.

“Staying calm is your most important weapon in the exam room,” says Mooney, “as is keeping a sense of perspective at all times, and endeavouring only to do your best in whichever situation you find yourself.” - Meropa Communications.

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