What To Do 24 Hours Before An Exam

Exam time is here again! Along with being thorough with the lessons, your child should be mentally prepared as well. To help him out, our expert reveals what he should do the night before an exam.

By Leena Ghosh

What To Do 24 Hours Before An Exam

The day your child has been thinking about and preparing for throughout the year has finally arrived. The 2019 CBSE board exams are just days away. It is time for your child to pull up his sleeves and give it his best shot. And, he should remember that the days leading up to the exams are as important as the D-day itself. For, this is the time when the fear of exam creeps in, and anxiety and stress begin acting on your child. To help your child stay composed and focussed on doing well in exams, here are a few tips recommended by our expert, Dr Meghna Singhal*.

The run-up to D-day…

1. Ensure she gets enough rest and has good breakfast: It’s important that your child eats a healthy breakfast and gets a good night’s sleep before the day of the exam. “Make sure that she does not study all night before the exam day as it will interfere with her ability to think. A working brain that is well nourished and rested will enable answering questions better, even if she hasn’t been able to prepare to her satisfaction. Many children also feel hungry while writing exams; so, it’s important your child eats a healthy and filling meal before the exams,” says Dr Meghna.

2. Keep important documents ready: It’s vital that students check and keep their documents such as admit card and any other supporting certificates ready the night before they go to write exams. Dr Meghna adds, “It’s also a good idea to visit the examination centre a few days before if it’s an unfamiliar venue. This will save a lot of time and prevent last-moment anxiety attacks.”

3. Encourage her to revise before she sleeps: Research has proved that studying before bedtime helps in better recall. According to the study, ‘Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake’, by Payne et al, published in PLoS One (2012), "Sleep is most beneficial to memory 24 hr later if it occurs shortly after learning…sleep does in fact stabilize declarative memories, diminishing the negative impact of subsequent wakefulness." So, ask your child to revise from key notes before she goes to bed the night before the exam.

4. Educate him on time management: “A lot of students make the mistake of not timing themselves. They spend a lot of time attempting the first few questions and then realising they are running out of time when it comes to completing their papers. As a result, they end up rushing through the paper and not paying enough attention to the questions. They begin feeling anxious as they aren't mentally prepared for it,” says Dr Meghna. So, with the help of mock question papers, help your child learn how to divide his time between different questions or sections of the question paper. Timed tests will certainly help towards addressing this.

The D-day…

5. Practise relaxation techniques: Encourage your child to do visualisation exercises. “Ask her to close her eyes, take deep breaths and visualise herself sitting in the exam hall, attempting all the questions without difficulty and coming out of the hall. This is a standard visualisation exercise that may help,” explains Dr Meghna. She further adds, “Many students also complain of nervousness and sweaty palms while attempting the paper. If this is the case with your child, ask her to do deep breathing exercises before attempting the paper. But, remember, deep breathing works only when your child has been practising it for some time. Otherwise, it does not work as a relaxation tool. It has to be done every day in order to work.”

Motivate and encourage your child through the exam season and be there to listen to him when he feels the need to talk. Don’t compare the effort and time he puts in with his peers and avoid speculating about his performance when he comes back from the examination centre. Take each day as it comes and focus on the task in hand rather than what could have been. And, let your child draw inspiration from the pioneering industrialist William Durant’s words – “Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” Yes, let your child focus right now only on his exams and nothing more. Success will certainly be his! ParentCircle wishes your child all the very best!

*Dr Meghna Singhal is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and a parenting consultant at ParentCircle.

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