calm sea during golden hour


How to Deal with Exam Preparation and Relax SIMULTANEOUSLY

Hi! In this blog post, I discuss how to deal with the stress of exam prep and stay true to ourselves simultaneously.

Dihaan Khan!

6/4/20232 min read

person writing on white paper
person writing on white paper

As June approaches, Bangladesh is once more riddled with the hassle and stress of exams. In my school, we’re currently on our Half Yearly. With all the subjects to be revised and all the notes to be read through, it’s easy to be swept away in the turbulent, phosphorus- infused waves of self-coercion, and the impulsion to receive better grades than everyone else. Of course, every parent wants us to succeed (and of course soar higher than our classmates so we can be bragged about), but this creates a stressful environment on us too, to please our parents. This might just be me, but grades are one of the paramount ways for me to justify to my parents that I am their trophy child, and to receive their heightened love and care. You coddle a topper child more than you coddle a child who, say, placed 10th in the exam, right? This is the way we run.

Anyway, the best way to battle the stifling prep is to just read everything during breaks. This is what I do. At once, when the notes are given out, read all the subjects one by one and memorize what needs to be memorized. For mathematics, keep the syllabus in front of you, do all the exercises once and mark them off as you’re done. This will lead you to finishing the syllabus before you’re flattened by the Silver Shoe of Stress. (Extra: you can also go through everything twice, but this is optional). Then, the day before the exams, you can just go through your notes once, revising carefully, and you’re done. Voila!

A trick my mother showed me (but which I haven’t gotten around to yet), is to make extra notes for every subject. In my school, they give out study notes (notes on which they give some extra questions and things), but one thing you can do is make notes for each subject, on each chapter, of each subject, with everything they have in that chapter, questions, definitions, fill in the blanks, the works. The thing about this is that when you’re revising, you can just read this instead of riffling through multifarious books, copies and papers. This is awesome, and also what my aunt used to do for tough exams. My mother, younger aunt, and uncle studied those notes for years.

Not being able to do anything else but study on the days before exams can be frustrating. At least, it is for me. If you walk in on me with my nose in my Chemistry book, you might just hear me singing Blinding Lights or hastily putting down a Herman Hesse classic and reburying myself in Properties of Acids or Valency. I’m prone to low attention spans sometimes, but thinking of the reward my mother has promised me if I place first snaps me back to reality.

Thinking of what you’ll do during the break after the exams also helps, I suppose. I’m going to Thailand and it just perks me up and then I’m left daydreaming about fluttering coconut tree leaves and a clear, Prussian sea lapping over white sand (not racist, I promise).

Everyone has different ways to trudge through the exam prep, some leave footprints and others soar through. Not all people attain the highest grades, but in the end, it’s the effort that matters (um…).

Dihaan Khan, signing out.