Answer: Replicate everything!
For whatever test you are preparing, there would always be a certain level of nerves. Typically, nervousness is caused by not being prepared enough, or facing the unexpected.
One key way to try and manage the nervousness is to replicate everything that you can from the upcoming test day. Here, let us look at 4 ways in which we can and should replicate the test day during our prep.
- Time slot
Everyone has a sweet spot (or should I say slot) for when they feel they can prep the best. I personally love studying at night. I feel that is when I grasp concepts the best. It is not necessary, though, that the time slot of my test falls within my sweet slot. In fact, in my case it was always impossible.
Irrespective of when you feel you perform the best, for the purpose of the upcoming test, you must try and ensure that you are at your peak performance level during the test slot.
Now, this will not happen overnight. This will not happen just because you will it to happen. Our body clocks can not be tricked.
So, as soon as you know when your test is to happen, make sure you start working towards making that slot your sweet slot. Your body and mind should be fresh during that time. If you find yourself yawning, that simply means you are not fresh, and you would not achieve the scores that you might have the potential for.
Adjust your schedule: the time you go to bed, when you wake up – all should be aligned to make this happen. Take mock tests during the actual test slot whenever possible.
- Cell phones switched off during prep
- No music/ TV playing in the background
- Avoid distractions on the computer while prepping. Disable notifications, close unwanted windows
- Ask family members/ housemates not to disturb you during prep (at 1 point, this became an excuse for me to lock my room and take naps – don’t let that happen)
- Study in spurts
Still at one place all day staring at a computer screen is not healthy, and will be counterproductive. Prep in intervals. This way you’d be able to monitor progress, and will not get burnt out.
- Distractions will always be there. How you deal with them is important.
If you feel your test day you’d be in a high-concentration zone, with nothing distracting you, and complete focus on the test – well, you’re mistaken. Test day is not any different from your regular prep days. You’d have distractions (internal and external) same as you would on any other day.
There could be construction going on in a site close to your test center. A fellow test taker could have a cold be coughing/ sneezing every so often. The chair could have a wobble making it difficult for you to sit comfortably.
Distractions could appear in many shapes or forms. The key is to not indulge in a distraction, and not blame a distraction for you not being able to focus. Try to eliminate whatever you can before the test starts, and for the rest, try to tune them out, accept that there’s a distraction, and know that despite that you need to give your 100%, and simply carry on.
Of course, you need to ensure that you manage your time properly throughout to get best results.