Taking the exams? Take care of this!

The exam fever is here. Various exams for Classes X and XII are starting over the next few weeks. In this space, we have already discussed how to deal with exam stress, especially as the actual exams approach, and what last-minute preparations to make to ensure that you do well. Now, there are some important things that you need to take care of just before you take the actual exams. We are not speaking of studies here; we are sure that you have done them well, and we have dealt with that already. There are some things, other than studies, that you need to ensure are in order. And this has to be done in the two or three days just before your exams actually begin.
So, first things first – ensure that you have your admit card in hand. Check it carefully to ensure that all the particulars are correct – your name, your photograph, the subjects that you have opted for, and so on. Point out any discrepancy immediately. This is the information that the board will enter on the mark-list and your certificate, on the basis of which you will pursue higher studies. So any mistake at this stage, especially in your name, will become very difficult to correct later. That is why it is important to check the details on your admit card.
Make three or four photostat copies of your admit card. God forbid, if the original gets misplaced or mutilated, a copy will make reference to the details easier for you to obtain a duplicate or to ensure entry into the exam hall.
Next, two or three days before the first paper, locate where exactly your centre is. Personally visit the centre, so that you know the way. This is not a waste of time – it will be better than spending time trying to locate your centre at the last moment, which may even mean that you enter the hall late! Make an estimate of how long it will take you to travel from home to the centre, then factor in half an hour for unforeseen circumstances, like a traffic diversion. With this travelling time in mind, leave home so as to reach the exam centre at least an hour before your paper is slated to start.
Candidates are normally allowed entry into the hall 30 minutes before the paper commences, so reaching an hour early will give you time to relax and settle down, and enter the hall with a calm mind. If you get late, you will reach the centre with frayed nerves, which will only add to your stress, and you will end up doing badly at the paper.
Also, get all your writing material in order – your pens, pencils, geometry instruments, eraser, and so on. Keep them all in one place, maybe in a schoolbag or something. If you use a writing board, ensure that it is in good condition. Have several pens, of the same kind, and pencils in your box so that you don’t get stuck if you run out of ink or if the pencil lead breaks.
Every day after you return from the exam, sharpen the pencils, and top up the ink in the pens (if using ink pens). Also carry a napkin or an extra handkerchief to wipe your drawing instruments clean to avoid smudging. Once inside the centre, do not try to mug up any major portion – it will only make you more nervous. Of course, we are sure that you have been thorough in your studies and you don’t need to look at the books at the last minute. However, it is all right to read that one little formula that you are finding hard to remember, one last time.
Don’t – repeat don’t – get affected by other students reading zealously from their books. Their preparations probably were not up to the mark. While you wait for the doors to the hall to open, don’t get distracted from the task on hand. Don’t get into idle chats; yes, do chat with your classmates, but keep them short; try to build up your concentration. At home, don’t suddenly change your routine; we have already told you to get into a routine such that you are at your most alert at the timings of the paper.
Don’t get distracted; get only as much recreation as absolutely essential, but don’t totally deny it to yourself, either. Finally, do seek blessings from your elders and best wishes from the others, and pray to whatever deity you believe in, every day before you leave for the paper. It will give you strength and confidence.

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