5 Tips to Help You During Exam Time

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Being a student comes with exams.

From one perspective, exams are an opportunity to show we understand what we learned from our teachers.

However, for some, they instigate an assortment of fears around self-worth.

We’ve been brought up to feel like getting an ‘A’ means we are smart, worthy and deserving of love and praise; and not getting an ‘A’ means we are not smart, unworthy and undeserving of love and praise.

When preparing for an exam, we create a host of stories around failing, having to drop out of school, living with our parents forever and so forth.

These thoughts in our head create stress and anxiety and make it even more difficult for us to focus. People do not perform their best under stress and will exhibit a marked and immediate decrease in cognitive performance, memory, judgement and creativity.

Meditation is a tool that can help you clear your mind, reign your thoughts back out of the illusory, gloomy future you’ve created, and diminish anxiety.

With a clear and calm mind, you can more easily focus on the material you’re studying and you might even enjoy learning more, as you realize your world will not end over one exam.

Below are 5 tips to help you during exam time:

    1. Meditate!  You may feel crunched for time, but taking the time to clear your head will allow you to perform at your best.  Practice a simple mindful meditation for a few minutes just before you start your studies.  It helps you learn fast and retain information longer.
    2. Take care of your body.  Get enough sleep.  Eat well –whole foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins.  Move and stretch.  Your body and mind are intimately connected.
    3. Take breaks.  Stop to rest your mind at regular intervals.  Take a few breaths, listen to music, talk to friends or family, play outside or take a mindful walk. Then get back to studying.
    4. Before the exam – breathe.  Relax and take long, deep breaths.  Observe your breath going in and out of your nostrils and feel the peace wash over your mind.  This relaxed state of mind will help boost your memory recall and cognitive abilities during the exam.
    5. During the exam – breathe.  The deeper the breath, the more oxygen you’ll intake.  The more oxygen for the brain, the more efficiently it works.

KERI BADACH lives and teaches meditation in New York City and works at Colombia Business School. She is currently taking the mindspace training programme.

Interested in writing for mindspace? Apply here.