“We have now finished the coursework for this subject, you may start revising for the exam.”
A terrifying yet relieving sentence that was heard by myself and my year twelve math methods class members from our teacher roughly two before the exams. The sentence was relieving in the sense that we had learnt all that we had to learn and no more information had to be jammed into our brains which were already overflowing with equations and formulas, but it was also a sentence that stirred up anxiety and terror for the upcoming exams. The next two months would determine if my preparation would be adequate for a study score that would be desirable for my university course. Two years of study would come down to two defining moments and three hours of gruelling problems.
In the weeks leading up to the exam we had been informed, by our teacher, to repeat the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority exams from the previous years as this would give us a feel for the types of questions and time constraints that we would be put under. A suggestion I am indeed thankful for as it was extremely helpful in my study. I decided to make my room an area of study and I would avoid it if I was not studying or sleeping, this was done in an attempt to leave my worries, anxiety and stress with my study, but I found myself wanting to study more and more so that I could become smarter and well prepared. I began to become overshadowed with a dark blanket of anxiety and stress, my skin began to itch, I became restless, my shoulders were always tense, I began to neglect my family and friends, I began to put too much pressure on myself and I struggled to sleep at night. With every failed practise exam these feelings grew stronger and greater until eventually I knew things had to change.
I decided that in order to change I needed to change the way I thought and felt which meant changing my routine. I limited myself to a certain amount of hours study before I took a break, to combat the stress I began to run every night, I began to look up on the internet ways to combat stress and anxiety for pre exam nervousness, I made sure to listen to music in order to free my mind of its troubles and most importantly I stayed away from my study area during my breaks. Within a week I could see and feel a change I was beginning to feel more positive, and after seeking advice from other I began to realise that my scores on the practise exams were not that bad.
Exam days were on the 5th and 6th of November. The first one went quite quickly, only being an hour, I felt relatively confident after completing it, until I got home. Someone had posted the answers online and after reading them I immediately regretted my decision, I began to doubt myself and worried if I had done enough, I told myself in order to not put that anxiety on myself I would not look at the answers for the second exam. 6th of November was the final day, after years of maths today would determine my result and I was excited yet equally nervous but the nerves because to take over during the exam. With roughly half an hour to go, I began to become light headed and dizzy, my hands began to cramp but I knew I had to finish the exam, I took a moment to recompose myself and use the calming techniques that I had acquired from the internet and when “pens down” came an instant sense of relief rushed through me.
When I came out of the exam I knew I had performed as best I could and prepared as well as I could have. The relaxation techniques, exercise and music were all instrumental in helping me achieve peace in what I had done and gave me the strength to believe in myself.
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