Posted by Kristy Rackham on Sunday, September 23, 2012 Under: Study Tips & Info
Hello fellow students!
Ahhh its that time again... the testing exam period where we get to 'prove' to the powers that be that we know our stuff. Well, that's one way of looking at it. I prefer to perceive exams as an opportunity to see how much I've learned, and where I may have weaknesses that I can bring up to speed in the future. If we go in hating the exam, its more than likely the exam will hate us back!!
Like everything, our perception determines our experience. If we resent exams and the people who create them, we are more likely to suffer from unnecessary stress. When we can allow and accept the exam as another opportunity for growth, the emphasis changes, and the experience can be (dare I say it?!) a pleasant one!
There are heaps of ways to prepare for exams from a practical, content focused perspective, and these are definitely helpful to solidify the learning of the Semester. BUT, what about rest, relaxation and readiness? Not so many people value these things as legitimate for exam preparation. However, there are literally HUNDREDS of peer reviewed studies that show reducing our stress levels has a direct impact on our brain's capacity to retain information.
So... here's what I do to prepare for my exams... you might like to give it a go. Afterall, you've got nothing to lose, and a different perspective to gain that might just help you shift exams from dreaded to do-able!
TIPS FOR PRE-EXAM STUDY
- Each morning before starting your study, do a short 5 minute intention-setting meditation.
Sit calmly and breathe, allow thoughts of negative self-talk to drift in and out of your body with your breath. Then set your intention to retain all information that you will learn from your revision today. Intention is as easy as repeating "My brain retails all accurate information about 'Anatomy' easily and effectively for use when and how I want". Then, visualise yourself confidently answering the exam questions.
There are tonnes of meditations and a detailed step by step on how to do this in the book Head Space-meditate your way to study success'. Grab your copy here.
- Drink plenty of fresh filtered water with a squeeze of lemon juice in it. The water will hydrate your brain cells minimising fatigue, the lemon tastes great and helps to alkalise your body and eliminates toxins to fwr your body operating more efficiently.
- Take a look at your diet. If your diet is heavy in sugar, saturated fats, excess caffeine and alcohol, or you are skipping meals, not including fresh and/or uncooked produce, you are probably very nutrient deficient. In this state, our bodies are too busy working on maintaining homoeostasis to be able to focus on absorbing info. Add a daily Omega 3 supplement and a multi-vitamin to your diet (let me know if you want my suggestion for a great brand with high bioavailability), eat lots of fresh fruit and vegies, lean protein, and limit sugary foods and drinks.
- Schedule time to relax - breathing fresh air, a leisurly walk, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer screen will help you relax and let go of pent up stress. Doing anything you love can help you to relax. I'ts important because when we are stressed, our brain does not retain information.
TIPS FOR THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EXAM
- Do not delay bedtime and fool yourself that the cramming will help. Going to bed anwhere near midnight will turn your brain into a pumpkin! Allow yourself a solid 8 hours sleep on the night before and you will wake feeling refreshed and alert.
- Eat a dinner full of Omega 3 oils like cold water fish and live food such as salad. This will supply the nutrients your body needs to function properly during the exam.
- Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine on the night before so that your sleep is not either artificially induced (drunk!) or disrupted making you stressed because you cant get to sleep (caffeine).
- Get your gear ready in advance. Most exams are electronically managed these days so you will need at 2 x 2B pencils, a sharpener and an eraser, a couple of black ballpoint pens, correction tape, a bottle of filtered water with lemon juice in it (the lemon also helps to keep you alert!), a jacket in case the exam room is cold, rescue remedy, lavender oil, and your student ID ready to go. Boy scouts know that it helps to 'be prepared'! It reduces stress!
TIPS FOR THE BIG DAY
- EAT BREAKFAST! Try to include a good protein, fresh (live) food such as fruit, but avoid saturated fats. A healthy smoothy is a great option as it is light, quick to prepare and you can add all the good stuff in one dish!
- Take your Rescue Remedy every 15 minutes for 2 hours before the exam starts. If you feel the nerves rising in your tum, take another dose (you cannot have too much of this, its safe).
- Get there AT LEAST 1/2 hour before the nominated entry time. Find a space away from friends and sit quietly (maybe find a comfy tree to rest against) and do a short breathing meditation, then visualise yourself being alert, confident and flying through the exam with ease. There's an excellent visualisation in Head Space that helps with recalling info.
- Go to the toilet before the exam. There's nothing worse that the distraction of a full bladder!
- READ THE QUESTION FULLY AND SLOWLY so that you properly understand what the question is asking for.
- If you don't know an answer right away, put a BIG "?" next to it, pass and go to the next question. This way you will not run out of time for the answers that you're sure of. Go back to the ?'s when you've finished answering the ones you know for sure.
- ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS, even if you are not sure of the answer. In these instances, if we can get out of our own way, intuition can provide information that we may not be consciously aware of and get us a few extra marks where we would otherwise not.
- When finished, take a few minutes to BREATHE... focus on your breath flowing into your body with brilliant white light, and exiting through the bottom of your feet, taking your nerves with it. Then, go back and review your answers. RE-READ THE QUESTION to make sure you have answered it correctly and completely. If you still are not sure... try not to second guess yourself. If you're still not confident that your answer is correct and there is not a more obvious response, trust your first response and move on.
- Leave the exam knowing that you have done your best, and LET IT GO. Take some time out for yourself (that means alone!) after the exam to de-compress and regroup before getting on with your day. Getting out in nature is great for this.
Most importantly, if you've done the work, its time to TRUST YOURSELF. You can only do what you can do, and it will be enough! The information is 'in there' whether you're conscious of it or not. Trust your brain to bring the info forward when you need it.
There are a lot of great meditations and methods in my book that will really help you to have faith in your capacity to 'do this' and make the most of your learning experience.
Don't forget, I'm in this with you! My nursing exams are just 2 weeks away, so I know how it is! If you need a hand, please get the book, register for the FREE virtual classroom where you can access member only meditation downloads, and shoot me an email if you have any questions.
I'd say good luck, but you don't need it!!
PS: there are Heaps of detailed meditations and visualisations, plus the exact step-by-step process I use to get HD's in my studies are all my book Head Space-Meditate Your Way to Study Success. >> Click here to get your copy now. Your brain with thank you for it!! :)
In : Study Tips & Info
Tags: exam preparation exams exam tips study tips de-stress study help head space