What determines your performance on the D-day?
I have seen many students who prepared well for an entrance exam, topped many mock tests – but simply failed to make the cut on the day that mattered. In fact, it happened to me many times. Probably you have gone through it too.
You are prepared, but something unexpected happens, throws you off track and all the preparation and effort goes down the drain.
We can’t afford that, can we?
No exam preparation is complete unless you prepare for unexpected events – for handling shockers. How do you handle shockers? How can you be prepared for the unforeseen situations?
You can do that only by achieving a control over your state of mind.
No preparation is not complete unless you have control over your state of mind. If you are too stressed out, if you are tired or sleepy, if you are too excited or agitated to focus – God help you.
Survive exam blues
Tension. Anxiety. Nerves. How do you deal with these things before an exam? Especially if it is an exam which is a gateway for you to a world you have been fantasizing about for a while now, for which you have prepared for months? It is a necessity that you be at your best during the two hours of the exam. Alert, feeling sharp and energetic. There are a dozen things to worry about – length of paper, difficulty level, strange GK questions. Last thing you want to come between you and your law schools dream is your own anxiety which may compromise your performance. What’s the best way to deal with exam blues?
Acknowledge your fears
Look, no one likes exams much. That’s the natural order of things. Some of us are positively scared of exams. Acknowledge it to yourself. Realise how afraid you are. Don’t sweep it under the carpet, face it right now. And then tell yourself that it’s alright to be afraid. Some anxiety is productive. It can be used to propel yourself faster, harder. You have been waiting for this moment for a long time. You are going to fight it hard, you won’t give an inch without a fight. Channel your anxiety into a fighting spirit.
Four practices for achieving control over your nerves
There are a few things you can do to achieve the perfect mental state during a test.
First, rehearse. Take mock tests. Attempt to solve past years papers in less time than the allotted time. This practice of testing yourself under adverse conditions will make your nerves used to such pressure. In short, practice taking tests a lot (solve a couple of past years papers right now if you haven’t been doing that yet).
Second, motivate yourself. Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the law school of your dreams. You would even feel a little thrilled about the exam, as this is the one exam that is going to transform your life. From school to law school. Your way to a rich, fast-track lifestyle; or a key to your empowerment for changing the lives of others in a few years down the line.
See the big picture. Visualise where you want to be. Know in your heart that that is where you belong. Feel calm, feel at home with your dreams. Know that you will achieve them. CLAT is just a small step in the whole scheme. This battle will be won, there is no other way. Writing CLAT and doing well is just an eventuality.
Feel at home with the idea that you are destined to make it through to CLAT. Taking the exam and acing is just a matter of course.
Third, this is really interesting. This draws on the strength of your subconscious mind, and is a terrific hack to prepare your conscious mind to battle fiercely without feeling the pressure. Before sleeping every night from now on till before CLAT, as you lie in your bed, close your eyes and imagine being in the exam hall. Imagine the bell ring, and the feel the paper kept in front of you, waiting to be opened, waiting for you to start solving. Imagine the tip of your pencil touching the red and white mosaic of the OMR sheet. Feel the anxious tension, like you are about to be launched. Like you are about to be unleashed on the paper with all your alertness and attention, destroying the problems one by one. It’s a hard battle, but you know the ending of this story. You are winning.
Read the previous paragraph before you go to sleep tonight. And imagine this before you fall asleep. Your brain and mind will take care of the rest. Let me know if you get tensed or nervous while taking the real test after doing this on three consecutive nights.
Fourth, meditate. This one is totally optional. There is no one correct way of meditating. Even going on very long distance run on your own can have a meditative effect on the brain (positive effects of meditation on human brain is a scientifically proven phenomenon). Find your own way to meditate – or learn it from someone. Doing it once a day will reduce the fear and anxiety inducing centres in your brain – and help you to remain calm so that you can take good decisions and focus even in the most unnerving situations.
I wish I could take a live session with you guys sometimes and demonstrate the immediate effect of these techniques on your guys – but that is not possible. Please try to do it yourself right away – and you are very likely to see great results.