Exam mentality is one of the most important areas in relation to how you need to prepare for the Junior Cert. Exam mentality is all about entering the exam focused, healthy and confident. If you enter the exams with these three elements, your knowledge and an overwhelming adrenaline rush will get you through the exam.
The key to achieving high grades in such an important exam such as the Junior Cert is having a ridiculous amount of concentration on the day of the exam. You must be fully focused in the few moments you have before the papers are given out, solely thinking about the exam. Obviously it is easier said than done to stay so focused before and during the exam, but I cannot stress the importance of it.
I truly believe the difference between the top students and the ones desperately trying to become a top student is that extra bit of concentration that allows them to maximise their grades. The ability to focus 100% from minute one of the exam till the last minute may seem impossible, but you must trust me. You will reap the rewards. It allows you to really think about every single question, as you have nothing distracting you.
Your health has an enormous effect on your exam mentality and, essentially, your exam performance. Exam periods are a key time that stress arises for most students. At this stage when exams are nearly here, doing too much study is counter-productive. Research has shown that cramming, or last minute revising, is not productive to even short-term knowledge gain. Here we will look at three areas which are related to our health and can affect exam mentality.
- Sleep is so important for any student preparing for exams and in order for a student to have the right exam mentality on the day they need the right amount of sleep at night (about 8 hours). Research shows that if you stay up for half the night before an exam in order to study, you are less likely to pass.
- Consuming caffeine regularly in order to maximise the amount of time you can study may seem like a good way to encourage your body to keep up its energy levels, but this can backfire too. Caffeine may give your energy levels a temporary jolt, but that later leaves you feeling completely drained.
- Steering clear of alcohol is a good idea if exam stress is to be avoided. Some students resort to having a drink to relax when their study day is over or after they have completed an exam. While drinking may seem to offer a break from the seemingly endless study cycle, drinking alcohol depresses the nervous system, leaving the body lacking vital minerals and vitamins. This can lead to irritability, which will only increase stress. It also reduces concentration and just will generally put a cap to your overall potential.
Each of these factors can drastically affect your health in bad ways. This has a knock-on affect because when you turn up on the day of the exam your mentality will not be right, eventually leading to you not performing to the standard you wish to perform at.
Thinking positively and challenging negative thoughts about your ability to perform in exams is a very useful technique in becoming confident for exams. The way in which you think about the exam will affect the way you feel about the exam. For example, if you think you are going to do well in the exam, then it will not be surprising to find that you will feel confident.
Picture yourself in the exam, where are you sitting, the paper in front of you, answering the questions in an efficient way. Experience yourself as a positive and successful student. Think positively and you will feel positive. If you have any negative thoughts about sitting exams, you must first understand these thoughts and then prepare for them. Focus on how well you are prepared for the exam, and the fact that you are quietly confident. Do not become caught up with other people’s negative thoughts.
Confidence relates to your exam mentality as the more confident you feel about an exam the better you will do, if you have studied properly and have a right to be confident. Overall, I believe the greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. This must be overcome by confidence, leading to the right exam mentality.
All in all, a key thing to remember is you must turn up to the exam at the peak of your powers. Now what I mean by this is you cannot have exhausted yourself already. If you are focused on the task ahead, if you have a healthy routine, diet and mind, and if you are confident of achieving your goals then you have nothing to worry about. In this case, you will achieve whatever you want. The adrenaline rush of the exam will help you through the exam and ease the pressure. Your perfect exam mentality and preparation will allow you to get whatever grade you want.