Tackle your exams as cool as a cucumber

09 October 2020

It’s exam time! You want to enter your exam venue
cool, calm and collected!

But first, where and how did the expression ‘as cool as a cucumber’ originate?

It is speculated that this idiom may be based on the fact that in hot weather the inside of cucumbers remains cooler than the air outside.

Cucumbers contain about 90% water so they are cool to the touch too.

Read on for a few easy pointers on how to be
cool, calm and collected
– or as cool as a cucumber
during exams:

Before the exam:

It’s the day – or the morning – before the exam. You have given yourself enough time to study in the past weeks and you have practiced on old exams. It is also important to have familiarised yourself with the format of the exam.

Although you are confident that you know your work you are still feeling anxious. That is how exams make most of us feel after all!

The best way to deal with this anxiety is to picture in your mind what is going to happen (writing of the actual exam) before it happens. Run through what is going to happen (from arrival to opening the exam paper) step by step in your head. Doing this relieves stress and makes you feel in control of the exam situation.

A checklist of what to take to the exam venue e.g. stationery, registration card with exam number etc. also helps to reduce stress.

During the exam:

Take a few deep slow breaths and try to set your mind to a state of calm and positive anticipation.

Once you have read through the exam paper, or a section thereof, start off slowly with what you know. If you cannot remember the answer – or all the details required – to a specific question, don’t let it perturb you; move on to the next question(s). You can return to the questions that you have left out, later on.

Get into the flow of the exam paper. The more you answer, the more you will feel calm, composed and self-possessed.

After the exam:

Put it behind you. It’s time to relax. You’ve done your best.

Reward yourself, even with something small.

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