Table of contents:
- There are only a few days left before passing school exams. This is the "home stretch", where high school students begin to fight for the result at the limit of their strength and capabilities. As early as May, exam stress begins to mow down the ranks of the most ambitious graduates (and their parents)
- Psychological help
Video: The Exam Is Coming Soon! Three Tips For Preparing For Exams - Society
There are only a few days left before passing school exams. This is the "home stretch", where high school students begin to fight for the result at the limit of their strength and capabilities. As early as May, exam stress begins to mow down the ranks of the most ambitious graduates (and their parents)
The most "anxious" go to a psychologist and ask: "Write me / my child some pills so as not to worry about the exam." We have to explain to them again and again that “pills” are not for a psychologist, but for a psychiatrist. And he is unlikely to write them out for you, because no one has gone crazy from the examination procedure. This event is unpleasant, stressful, but completely surmountable with the help of our own internal (psychological) resources.
1. The myth of the pill
Don't expect the "magic pill" to help you on your exam! From my own experience, I know that most often people are asked to prescribe some strong sedatives (tranquilizers) or "something to remember everything and think well" (nootropics). But this is actually a very naive approach.
- It is important to understand that the anxiety we experience during the exam activates the nervous system. It is worry that kicks our memory and thinking, mobilizes all our abilities necessary to pass the exam successfully. Taking tranquilizers suppresses this activation; the person really stops worrying, but … begins to remember worse and think worse!
Nootropic drugs have an ambiguous medical reputation, and more often they are recommended not to schoolchildren, but to older people. Plus, a single dose of nootropics usually doesn't improve anything. It is possible to talk about any improvement in memory or intellectual abilities only after long-term use of such drugs (cumulative effect).
It also makes sense to write a couple of lines about stimulants like caffeine. In an anxious person, caffeine will only intensify this very condition (up to panic). If a person does not suffer from anxiety, then caffeine is quite capable of "spurring up" our cognitive abilities, but only for a very limited time (20-30 minutes). Perhaps a bar of dark chocolate, eaten in front of the door of the examination room, will help for a while … But will its effect last until the end of the test?
- The main mistake is shifting responsibility. The person believes that "the pill will work and everything will be fine"; he hopes for the pill more than himself. What if the drug does not work at the most crucial moment? Or will the action not be quite as expected?
2. Waste labor
The most common mistake of high school students (and their parents) is that the closer the exam date, the more time and effort is spent preparing for it. I know of cases when schoolchildren studied literally 14-16 hours a day two to four days before the start of the exam. At the same time, they sacrificed not only communication with friends, walks in the fresh air, etc., but even sleep and breaks for eating. Of course, this did not end with anything good, since by the "X-hour" the child was so tired that later he recalled his state at the exam as "sleepy, inhibited and dull." And the test result was clearly below the level of knowledge of the examinee.
In my opinion, the key recommendation for students preparing for the exam is that they should live (at least two to four weeks before passing) in a balanced daily routine. The balance should exist primarily between activity and rest.
Speaking in detail about rest, then out of any competition here in the first place is sufficient (at least seven to eight hours) sleep. It is in a dream that the "re-assimilation" (structuring, consolidation in long-term memory, integration with previously obtained information, etc.) of the knowledge gained during the day occurs. No matter how much the student pored over books during the day, all this will be useless if he does not get enough sleep!
The second most important type of recreation is physical activity in the fresh air. A simple walk is enough (at least 30-40 minutes a day), but if it is a bicycle, skate, roller skates, etc., then only better! Our brains are very sensitive to lack of oxygen; and the tone of the nervous system directly depends on muscle activity. If the brain is not “walked” every day, the effectiveness of cramming will be several times lower.
3. On the top
How to “cram” correctly? What's the best way to load information into the brain? In cognitive psychology, there are models according to which our brain works like a movie camera, capturing any information that enters it. Therefore, here is a very simple recommendation: if a student at least once heard / read the information necessary for the exam, then they are already present in his head. Therefore, if you make a choice between “perfectly learn two sections of the textbook” or “ skim through the entire textbook ”, it is better to choose the second option.
This is, of course, a simplified picture. It is not enough to "load" information into the brain once, because then it must be extracted from there, preferably without distortion and in sufficient volume. Information is extracted from the brain due to the connections that exist between various information units (facts, concepts, visual images and diagrams, examples, etc.). It's like a ball - to unwind it, you need to pull on the "connecting thread".
It is easy to remember if knowledge is stored in the head not in the form of a pile of disparate information units, but in the form of a system of interrelated knowledge. These connections can be very different (people have different learning strategies and different ways of forming such connections), but here it is important that the student himself chooses some way of "connecting" information and use it during the pre-examination cramming.
The process of writing cheat sheets is an active processing of the information being studied (which is very useful for its assimilation) plus the "linking" of information from the textbook with motor activity and visual image. Handwritten text is better perceived and remembered. In addition, unlike a boring paragraph in a textbook, you can style the text of the cheat sheet as you like. For example, include some funny inscriptions in it (and emotions also help to remember).
A cheat sheet is informational links that you created yourself and which will be much more convenient to extract from memory than just reading the pages of a textbook
There are many ways to build a personal knowledge system (that is, to “link” memorized pieces of information)! Someone writes cheat sheets; someone draws an infographic on the entire wall; someone creates mind maps (Mind Map); someone rhymes key concepts, definitions and rules in verse; someone uses mnemonics (such as "halls of memory"), etc.
I once had a high school student for a consultation who was seriously into dancing. For him, the best way to memorize was the translation of information units into the language of dance movements. He literally memorized sections of the textbook in the form of separate dances. Methods of "binding" information can be as creative as you like, as long as they are clear and convenient for the student himself.