Five Ways to Win the Psychological War During the Exams

To do well in the exams, it’s more than knowing your subjects. It’s a combination of being exam-smart, understanding your subject matter and winning the psychological war.

Students taking the PSLE will be taking a major exam for the first time in their lives; it’s understandable some may get cold feet and panic. Here are five ways to win the mental game.

1. Imagine you are Harry Potter

Taking the papers in the exam hall is one of the scariest experiences for many students. It’s terrifying to see hundreds of your peers burying their heads in the papers and vigorously scribbling what-seems-to-be very intelligent answers.

You will start to self-doubt and wonder if they are going to perform better than you. The almost-silent hall doesn’t help ease the tension as the tranquility further exacerbates the paranoia.

What can you do? You can’t change the location, but you can alter your mindset.

Imagine you are the most powerful wizard out there.

Remove everyone else in your mind. Now, you are the only person in the room. You are doing this like it’s a routine assignment at home, except you can’t sprawl on the floor.

Feel better?

2. Kiasu

Being kiasu is a merit at times. The hunger to win pushes one to work harder. However that could work against us too.

Some students may overdo it and spend the whole exam fretting about their opponents.

“What if XXX does better than me?”

“I wonder if YYY knows how to solve this problem.”

Before the exams, you can find a target and use him as your motivation to study.

However, when you are at the exam hall, you have done your best at revising, so your biggest rival is yourself now.

At the exam hall, compete with yourself. Aim to score better than the previous papers. This way, you will have a goal to lean back on and not get unnecessarily stressed.

3. Be positive

Don’t go into the exam hall thinking you can’t do it.

If you are confident, half the battle is won. If you think you are going to fail, you are unlikely going to do well. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When you are full of hope, you will try your best to answer the questions and you could make the most out of a tough paper. If you had given up from the start, don’t think about acing it.

4. Sleep well the night before

There’s no way that you can perform if you are tired.

Sleep early the night before. You are unlikely to remember much if you were cramming a few hours before the examinations. Get your night’s rest and the brain can work wonders if it’s fresh and alert.

5. Don’t be late

In the same vein, don’t be late for the exams. Go to the exam hall early. Even if you are an hour early, that’s OK.

It’s better to be early than to rush, be all sweaty and fumble in the exams. We need to be calm when we are taking the exams. And getting an adrenaline rush from hurrying to the venue isn’t exactly the best way to stay composed.

Good luck. Regardless whether you are taking the PSLE or the law bar exam, this set of tips should be effective.