Are you mentally prepared for your exams? Tips included!

How do you normally prepare for your exams?

Before you start, I would advise that you read my "How to study for my psychology exams?" Series 1, 2, and 3.  This should help you to understand your studying patterns and to better study for your exams.
However if you think all you need to do to prepare for the exams is to just study (or pure reading) your notes (as shown in the series above), you are so wrong...

With your "firepower" and "ammunition" (i.e. your study materials including textbooks, revision papers, past year papers, etc.) well-prepared and checked, you think you might be ready for this big "war" (i.e. your exams).  But you need more than that.  However, do note that your "ammunition" is always an essential equipment, as without the "ammunition", you have nothing to fight the "war".

Here are some methods to help you better manage your thoughts and have better mental preparation for the exams: 

1.  Create a study schedule
This has been taught in your time in secondary school (and maybe in primary school).  But during those times, a lot of students fail at keeping at the schedule.  For a study schedule more focused for the exam period, it has been explained before in Strategy 2 of "How to study for my psychology exams? Part 3".  This is very helpful as it helps to make sure that you cover all the materials a few times before the exams, which also makes you feel that you are well-prepared.

2.  Have a exam routine
Manage your routine, and you can manage your mood.  The time during the exams are a very busy and stressed period, hence it is very important that you can manage your mood properly in order to perform well.  It also help you focus better, as you do not have to think too much about what you have to do.

All experts who have the abilities to work under pressure and stress have their "little" routines that they have to perform, to make sure that things are in check.  What are the things that you can include in your exam routine?  They include:
  • Checking the items to bring, e.g. stationary, calculator, notes, little charms, etc., 
  • Having a certain routine, e.g. being at the venue early or on time, or certain "ritual-like" routines (like Nadal in the video above),
  • Things you prepare to have on the exam desk, or 
  • Certain things to do during the exam, e.g. checking that all pages are present or checking all pages are done before submission.
Methods 1 and 2 are really good to use before the exams, while methods 3 and 4 are things that you might do during or in preparation for the exam.

3.  Practice relaxation techniques
In times of stress, make sure you learn to relax.  Relaxation techniques will help you calm your nerves and put you in the right state of mind to perform at your best for the exam.  You can use these techniques when you are studying or during the exams.

First and foremost, you have to learn how to do diaphragmatic breathing (or deep breathing), as this is the most basic way to relax;  the first video teaches how to do this diaphragmatic breathing.

After which, if that is not enough, you can also do this progressive muscle relaxation (in a seated position).  If you have 6 minutes to spare during your exam, you can also do this before or during your paper.

4.  Positive self-talk
Lastly, you need to give yourself positive self-talk.
"What we tell ourselves will decide how we do it."
If you keep telling yourself "I can't do it", there will be a high chance that you will not be able to do it.  So remember to keep telling yourself good things before and during the exams!
These good things include:
  • "You can do it!"
  • "Hang in it!"
  • "You are well-prepared!"
  • "Just do your best!"
  • Any others that are applicable and relevant to yourself

With your physical preparation (through studying your notes) and mental preparation (through the above methods),  make sure you practice the methods as you revise your notes , and you will be fully prepared for your exams!  Good Luck!