Friday, 31 January 2014

My University Exam Success - the power of self-belief.

The exam season is a bit like being in limbo. Though, I really enjoyed it and I think an improvement in technique and a re-ignition of my academic confidence certainly contributed to this.

I believe that you can study as much as your brain will allow you to, but if you have negative thoughts that act as a detriment to your positive study efforts then it will work against you and show.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (This is My Story)

Self-doubt not only counteracts the whole purpose of studying, but if it is not controlled before sitting the exam, you send your brain mixed messages whilst thinking of answers and you just get confused.

So, what is very important whilst studying is to be very calm and optimistic. You need to remind yourself the reason why you are studying, and more importantly, that you deserve to do well. I think the whole essence of revising and preparing for exams is like a subtle commentary. Every hour spent, every practice test paper completed, every page of notes written - they are actions evoking the message of "I am going to do well in my exams, because I am preparing for confidence and success." 

You have all to gain with an optimistic attitude.
Also, what I learned that it is really quality over quantity. I found revising enjoyable when I balanced my time between studying and revising over the material and notes I had made throughout the academic year, and taking time out to watch a few of my enjoyable programmes.

Once I believed that I was going to do well, and that I was not going to settle for anything less than my true academic best, then my study became more enjoyable. In a way, the pressure was lifted from me, because I was no longer thinking of being in the academic system in a competitive sort of way. Instead, I realised that the only thing I needed to concentrate on was myself and no-one else, and ensuring I did everything to show how academically capable I believe myself to be.

Music is the art of thinking with sounds.
— Anonymous (via realizes)

In my room, I studied whilst immersing myself in soothing music - I am a convert to classical music radio stations now - and thinking ahead and not thinking about any past academic efforts that were not reflective of my best.

At University, you do not have your parents or those considered close spurring you
on to do your best. You have to strive on alone, knowing that your own voice of encouragement is strong enough
and loud enough. Photo source, here.

This being said, you have to trust yourself. That can be one of the hardest things we can ever do. Usually we seek guidance and comfort from others. A sense of trust and  confirmation that we can do something from anyone else before consulting our own inner voice. I feel that in the exam season, or even in life, we should trust our instincts. So in exam season, if something is telling you to read that revision webpage and all its links - you do it. If something is telling you to have a break for 30 minutes and then return to studying, even if you do really want to keep revising - take the 30 minute break. Taking inspired action is a must.

Preparing for exams, and indeed preparing in life, gives credit to yourself. You put your best foot forward, the best version of yourself. Yet, couple this with an unwavering faith that you will succeed, optimism that things work in your favour, and a sense of calmness and serenity that all is well in the present and the future - then the positive outcome is yours for the receiving.

It took me this exam season to remind myself of this, and I am happy to say that I got a positive outcome and experience with my exams and felt that I worked at a level to achieve the set goals that I wanted. I hope that this post will help those in future exam periods that a positive mindset is also essential for preparing for exam success.

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