During these past few weeks, we’ve given you plenty of advice on what you should do to prepare for SPM so you can be fully prepared. Now that you know what to do, we’re going to let you in on some of the things that you should avoid doing if you don’t want your stress and anxiety levels to skyrocket!
So, pay close attention to some of these no-nos!
#1. Cramming your brain with last-minute information
If you don’t already know, cramming is probably the least efficient way to study.
When you cram, you’re only temporarily storing the information as you do not have a deep understanding of the subject. Additionally, since cramming often occurs at the eleventh hour when you’re short of time, it can increase your stress levels and ultimately have a negative impact on your ability to concentrate.
So if you haven’t covered a subject or topic, don’t stress yourself out by cramming. Instead, go through chapter summaries to extract key information and work through past year papers to identify topics that you are weak at. This will be a better use of your time.
#2. Asking about your friends’ study progress
Many of us are guilty of comparing our revision progress among our peers. We tend to be curious about how much they’ve studied and want to know if we’re ahead or behind. This, however, may not be a healthy habit.
Comparing yourself with others can cause you to feel dissatisfied with yourself, leading to lower levels of confidence. You also don’t want to be seen gloating about your progress as it may stress your schoolmates.
Therefore, focus on your own studies instead and try to be the light by exuding good vibes. It’s important that everyone is supportive of each other during this critical time.
#3. Doing things out of the ordinary
While #YOLO (You Only Live Once) is a great mantra to observe, you should also practise #TYES (Take Your Exams Seriously)!
So don’t wander about doing physical activities that you’re not used to, such as hiking, rollerblading and rock climbing, as they may cause unwanted injuries. This isn’t to say that you should avoid working out altogether (it’s actually a great way to energise yourself), but keep it to low impact exercises such as swimming and walking.
In addition, you should also be aware of what and where you’re eating. Now is not the time to be gulping down dozens of supplements or trying out a new restaurant as they may have an adverse effect on your body. You don’t want to have to rush to the loo every 15 minutes when you’re answering exam questions!
#4. Overthinking things
We know that sitting for examinations can be stress-inducing. When you feel anxious, your mind may wander off and contemplate about life after SPM. It may even lead you to an existential crisis, where you feel like your future is doomed if you fail to do well for SPM.
When this happens, stop thinking! Don’t add fuel to the fire by thinking about all the horrible things that could happen. Take a deep breath and remember to take things one step at a time. Keep your focus on the present and don’t worry about what hasn’t happened yet.
#5. Skipping meals
Yes, it’s tempting to skip meals when you think you don’t the time to eat.
But did you know that skipping your meals can affect your brain’s efficiency? When you deprive yourself of nutrients, your blood sugar decreases, interrupting your brain’s ability to think properly. This will cause you to lose focus while you’re sitting for your exam.
To avoid starving yourself, prepare your meals ahead so that you’ll only have to heat them up later on. Although you may feel the need to keep studying during break hours, try to allocate at least 30 minutes to eat and rest. An overworked brain will not function well either. Besides, you don’t want to faint when you’re writing your answers halfway!
#6. Rushing your way through
It’s natural to feel excited and nervous during SPM Day. After all, you’re sitting for one of the most important exams of your life and you certainly don’t want anything to interrupt your journey from home to the exam hall.
However, it’s crucial to avoid rushing to keep your nerves and anxiety under control. After all, you don’t want to arrive at the exam hall soaked in sweat and worry as it may affect your focus and concentration.
So try to get to school ahead of time by setting out earlier to avoid unusual traffic. Similarly, don’t answer your exam questions hastily. Keep your eye on the clock, read through each question carefully and look out for tricky questions like, “Which of the following are not true?”
#7. Discussing the papers you’ve completed
Seeing your friends rush to the teachers with the exam papers to determine if they’ve answered the questions correctly is a common occurrence. Perhaps this habit stems from our natural kiasu behaviour as students.
However, what’s done is done. Curiosity kills the cat. Don’t waste your time thinking about what you have answered. Finding out the right answers will only make you more nervous for the upcoming papers, especially if you spot a mistake that could lead you to dwell on it for hours.
Instead, once you’ve completed an exam, stuff the question papers into your bag and keep your mind focused on the next exam. Keep your mind on the present!
#8. Forgetting to give your parents a tight hug
With emotions running high on the big day, you might feel like you’re all over the place.
Stop for a second, take a deep breath and give your parents a big tight hug before you leave for school. Receiving a hug from your loved ones can actually help you feel more relaxed and calm, as it increases your oxytocin level, a hormone that helps reduce anxiety and stress.
So keep yourself mentally and emotionally stable on the big day by doing lots of hugging!
So there you have it — 8 big blunders that could jeopardise your performance during exams. While we know that taking SPM can be extremely stressful, try to stay in the present and focus on what you can do instead of what you didn’t do. You’ll be at the finish line before you know it!