Conquering exam stress: 6 ways to overcome brain fog and achieve academic success

Board exams are a crucial part of every student ‘s academic journey, but they can also be one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing experiences. The pressure to perform well, coupled with the fear of failure, can leave students feeling overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. Popularly known as ‘ brain fog ’, this dreaded blank state of mind impacts many students making them feel confused, forgetful and dizzy during exams. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to overcome this mental fog and boost your focus and clarity during exams. By adopting some techniques, you can stay calm, centred, and focused during your exams, and increase your chances of achieving the success you deserve. (Also read: Yoga for students: 7 best exercises to tackle exam stress )

Talking to HT Lifestyle, Manan Khurma, Founder and Chairman, Cuemath, shared some useful tips for the student to overcome brain fog and perform their best during board exams.

1. Prioritise between easy and weak concepts: While preparing for the exam, students should categorise their chapters into easy, moderate, and difficult groups to efficiently manage their study time. Similarly, while taking the examination, evaluate the question paper to mark or attempt familiar questions first, subsequently attempting moderate and difficult questions. This strategy will help in remembering key concepts and will maximise chances of covering a large part of the examination with ease.

2. Avoid rote memorization and try to understand the concepts: Students often learn formulas or question solutions before the exam to improve their scores. Hours are spent mugging up concepts and formulas right before the exam. This is not only confusing but can result in brain fog. Try to avoid rote memorization – instead dedicate time to understanding concepts and practise enough questions. Always try to focus on the ‘why’ behind the concepts and confidently apply the same to solve questions during practice and the actual examination.

3. Practise mock papers to improve your performance: Here’s a key to ace your exam – follow LPAR which is Learning, Practice, Assessment and Revision. Solve enough previous year’s question papers to become familiar with the exam pattern, and avoid any surprises, especially for topics like trigonometry, geometry, calculus, statistics and probability. It is important to revisit incorrect and difficult questions and revise concepts if required. In addition, you can create a formula sheet for a quick glance and a revision plan to keep you on track.

4. Exam mindset and time management: The aim is to attempt maximum questions correctly in three hours – how does one do that? I have observed students who time themselves while taking at least 2-3 mock tests, usually perform better on the examination day. Creating examination conditions allows us to understand the required exam mindset to improve efficiency, and manage time to navigate between tough and easier sections.

5. Treat rounding and units with caution: It is a good practice to go back to the question to make sure what you’ve put down matches what was asked. Whether you are calculating time, distance, speed, dollar amount, or anything else, tell the marker so. Keep your units in your calculations – time dedicated to writing “cm ” on every line will be worth the mark you avoid losing when it’s included in your answer.

6. Take breaks to boost and refresh your memory: Take short breaks in between long study hours to walk around, stretch, listen to music or take a nap. I used to play the guitar – I still enjoy the music, it helps me manage stress and lets my creativity take a walk. Also, avoid pulling an all-nighter before the exams as lack of sleep may result in brain fog.

A night before the exam, hit the bed on time – get at least 8 hours of sleep. Finally, on the examination day don’t forget to carry your pencil box, water bottle, and chocolate along with your admit card. Reach the examination centre well on time with a positive mindset to make the most of the 3 hours!

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