The countdown for the Gymi entrance exam is on. Does it mean stress, pressure and exam anxiety for you? Then maybe these methods will help you to do something about it.
For many students, learning and preparation begins long before the exam: In class, at home, in tutoring sessions. You must have done the same.
Remember, however, that it is not only about mastering the material. You also need to keep a clear head at the crucial moment.
I have collected a few tips on how you can also mentally prepare for the exam. For many of my students, these have helped them get through the exam without stressing out.
Tip: Lernpraxis Zurich now offers the course "Mental Training for the Gymi Examination" for 11 to 15 year olds. We can highly recommend this course.
The calm before the storm
Studying a lot on the last day before the exam is useless. If you can't do something by then, you won't learn it in one day. Instead, it leads to nervousness.
Give yourself some time to rest before the exam. Are there any activities where you can relax particularly well?? For example, playing the piano, doing sports or playing with your pet? Then I recommend you to use the Sunday before the exam for this activity. Take the time to do this and you can go into the exam the next day relaxed and with renewed energy.
Breathing exercise to reduce stress
Stress can bother you a lot during the exam. That's why it's important to have a few remedies for it at hand. I don't mean drugs, they should only be used in case of emergency and only after consulting a doctor. A few simple exercises that you can do while studying and even during the exam will help you against stress. If you notice that you can't concentrate anymore, take a minute to do one of the following exercises. Afterwards you can work all the better.
Exercise 1: Alternate breathing
Sit up straight on a chair so that your back, neck, and head are straight on top of each other. This may be a little uncomfortable at first, but you will find it very relaxing.
Put your left hand comfortably on your left knee. Press lightly on the right nostril with your right thumb so that it closes. Take a deep breath through your left nostril. Now put your right little finger on your left nostril so that it is also closed. Then remove the right thumb, opening the right nostril. Breathe out deeply through the right nostril and then in again. Then switch fingers again. Do this four or five times.
Can you feel how you slowly become calm and relaxed??
Exercise 2: Breathe in slowly
For this exercise it is also important that you sit up straight. Back, neck and head on one line. Always exhale twice as long as you inhale. So when you have inhaled for about 3 seconds, take time to exhale for 6 seconds. Just count the seconds. Repeat this 4-5 times.
The exam simulation in your head
Your teachers and parents will have prepared you for the exam in detail and you know exactly how it will go. You can read all the info again in our blog article Preparing for the Gymi Exam in case of need.
With this knowledge you can perform a special exercise. It is called visualization or "cinema in the head". You should do this exercise on Sunday night before you go to sleep, but you can try it right now for practice.
Our memory reacts to imagined things almost in the same way as to experienced things. You can use this to protect yourself from exam anxiety. Imagine what the film of your exam looks like. Close your eyes and run this movie in your mind. It is best to let your mother or father read the text while you make yourself comfortable.
You get up in the morning, have a delicious breakfast and then drive to the exam. You have plenty of time and don't have to rush. Your parents wish you good luck once again. You enter the school and immediately feel at home. You are completely calm. Then go to the toilet one last time and head to the exam room.
1. Scene: The exam starts.
You find your seat, prepare your writing tools, take another deep breath and then watch the exam. You do everything exactly as you have practiced it. You go through the tasks calmly and with concentration, reading everything carefully. Do your best in all the tasks.
Imagine how you don't get on immediately with a task and how you react to it: Without losing your calm you move on to the next task and remember the problematic task for later.
2. Scene: Check answers.
When you are done with all the tasks, put the pen down and go inside for a few seconds. Now you are ready to check your work. You go through the previous test again in order. You read the questions again and your answers to them. The very last thing you do is revise your essay. In the performance you have enough time for it. In the end you are satisfied with your solutions.
3. Scene: The break between the exam parts is about to start.
You look back and realize what you have achieved. You did a good job and did your best. Tell yourself that too.
Then you look ahead and resolve to do the second and third part just as well. After that, do the same for the next parts of the exam.
End: Now you finish the movie in your head.
You imagine how you will hand in all the documents and pack your things. You are exhausted, but satisfied. No matter what happens now: You've got the exam behind you and you can be proud of yourself.
You should practice this movie a few times and then play it again the night before the exam. This way you will know how the exam will go and you will not worry unnecessarily.
Nerve food for full concentration
Eating the right food is an important factor for your mental fitness during the exam. It gives you energy and ensures that you keep a clear head for several hours.
Both for studying and for the exam itself, the motto is: Find the right measure. If your stomach is rumbling, you can't study well and you can't answer exam questions well. But if you eat too much, you get sleepy and sluggish. You should eat something before the exam and have enough snacks for the breaks during the exam.
I recommend a healthy breakfast for the exam day. You can prepare this the night before: Chop up some fruit and check to see if your favorite ingredients are available. But don't experiment, stick to your usual breakfast habits. If you normally leave the house without breakfast, you should not eat too much now either.
Make sure you drink enough, but not too much, during the exam. Water is important to keep you awake. You are only allowed to go to the toilet during the official breaks, not during the exam. That's why you should be careful here as well. You can also fill up your water bottle during the break, if necessary.
What snacks you should eat during the exam depends very much on you. Have you taken an exam simulation? Then maybe you already know what is good for you. Some people need chocolate, others need salty pretzels. And the classic is of course glucose, which can give you a little energy boost. Fruits on the other hand, except bananas, are rather clumsy: they drip and stick, so you have to be very careful with them.
Keep your hands off medication
Finally, I would like to give a short tip on medication. And to do without it as much as possible. Sure, the temptation is great – but you never know how exactly they work. If you feel that you can't manage your exam anxiety any other way, go to a specialist. She can advise you on this.
Besides, you have to test in advance how you react and what dosage fits. Because a remedy that relaxes one person may cause drowsiness in others. And this is what you definitely don't want at the exam!
I hope these tips will help you to spend the remaining time until the exam calm and reasonably relaxed. Good luck on monday at the exam!