How Mayank coped with the stress of examinations
Opening up the floodgates
Mayank was a student of engineering in a well-known Bangalore college. He was proud that he had got his seat on merit. Given the fierce competition and shortage of good colleges, Mayank's was no mean feat.
Although Mayank was a good student, he was prone to procrastination. This trait had never harmed his academic performance as his school was lenient. Yet, it came to bite him in college because of the ruthless semester system. One week before the exam, he felt overwhelmed by the backlog in subjects.
Mayank's friends gave him a pep talk. They urged him to do his best. They said a week is a long time and that hard work always pays.
Mayank could feel the clock ticking. He began by reviewing the syllabus he needed to cover. He needed to study four subjects - Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science. He decided to spend one day on each and began by revising mathematics. Out of a total of ten chapters in maths, he managed to finish five.Â
The next day, Mayank plunged into Physics. He studied two of the required five chapters.
On day three, Mayank went through his chemistry textbook and was completely blank. He had no knowledge of the prescribed syllabus. Out of five chapters, he wasn't confident of even one. He burnt the midnight oil but could revise two out of five chapters.
The next day, Mayank woke up early and began studying computer science. This was one subject he enjoyed and was confident about facing in the final examination.Â
At the end of day four, Mayank felt overworked. And the fact that he had two days left made matters worse. He hardly slept that night, worrying about the outcome. His parents had spent a fortune educating him and pinned their hopes on him. He felt ashamed that he was letting them down. Mayank also felt his anxiety levels rising.
On the last two days before the exam, Mayank woke up at 4 am to study. He took a half-hour break at ten for breakfast and then returned to his books, revising till 1. After an hour's break for lunch, he studied again till six. After dinner at six-thirty, he did a quick revision and went to bed.Â
On the night before the exam, it dawned on Mayank that he was thorough with fifty per cent of the syllabus. He doubted whether he would pass and promote to the next semester. His college was notorious for failing students, and he didn't want to add to its list of failures.
A sound, eight-hour sleep evaded Mayank that night. He was restless and worried about how he would perform the following day. Yet, he woke up at six thirty and returned to business as usual. After a bath and breakfast, he reached the examination hall. When he saw the question paper, he had goosebumps. His sweaty palms all but wet the answer sheets.Â
Mayank saw his watch and realised he had a minute left. He took some deep breaths and tried to relax. He began counting from one to hundred, taking approximately a second for each count. When he reached twenty-nine, the bell rang. It was time for him to go through the question paper and start writing. After taking one final deep breath, he got cracking.