Improving my performance during exam season
In my previous blog, I have discussed factors that can contribute to performance anxiety. In this blog I will be providing some tips and recommendations of how we can improve our performance during the exam period, which is upon us.
How can you improve performance?
- We have to break down aims into smaller goals in order to be more able to succeed through each step. In this way, the process is firstly much more easier and secondly, it ensures a much higher chance of succeeding and therefore being more motivated to work productively and reach an optimum level of performance
- Becoming aware of dysfunctional beliefs is always the first step in moving in the right direction. Once we start noticing that we are holding negative beliefs about ourselves and catch ourselves in that moment, we can alter these beliefs into more positive ones. Once we internalize these more positive beliefs about ourselves, our self-efficacy is increased and we no longer act in such a way that supports the negative beliefs – we start performing better. Moreover, people will react to our behaviour in a way that supports these new beliefs and this continues to exacerbate the feeling that we truly are good enough. So, ‘I am not good enough’ becomes ‘I can do this’, boosting motivation to work harder and continue trying, which leads others to notice your effort and complementing it, which further reinforces the belief that you are capable
- There is only so much you can do. Do not take on more tasks than you can handle because they become a burden rather than a task or something you enjoy doing which can leave you feeling quite overwhelmed. Ideally, there should be a balance between enjoyment and challenge when working towards something but challenge should be taken on step-by-step and not to an extent where you reach a point of accumulating a bunch of incomplete tasks that are no longer enjoyable and neither challenging but outright tiring
- It is important to stay away from what you know could be distractions. It is inevitable that all sorts of opportunities and events will present themselves regardless of your exams. It is impossible to stop your life completely and just focus on one thing however, you can limit this by avoiding potential distractions; things that you suspect can hinder rather than improve performance. These are to be distinguished from interruptions which are minor distractions during the day as opposed to things that can consume your mental energy in great amounts
- Sometimes, it’s better NOT to multitask, despite it usually being considered as something beneficial. It confuses you and does not allow you to focus on the quality of your work because you are constantly shifting your brain from one task to another
- It makes a lot of sense to learn something new about the topic every day. It does not mean you study something different every day but reading further about it as this increases interest and expands knowledge of the subject
- Do take breaks! Sometimes, it’s better to stop working than producing work of poor quality. Try and time yourself to get used to a particular schedule with adequate breaks and enough time dedicated solely to working. It is important that breaks are not timed long enough that you become over-tired and stop focusing and neither too frequent to a point where you do not allow yourself enough time to understand and process material
These are some tips that can be handy during the exam period. Remember you can do this!
Ackerman, C. (2018). PositivePsychologyProgram. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-efficacy/
Kaufman, C. (2012). Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychology-writers/201210/using-self-fulfilling-prophecies-your-advantage
Salemme, I. Pipefy blog. Retrieved from https://www.pipefy.com/blog/productivity/10-tips-improve-work-performance/
Luanne Grima is a psychology student who works as a childminder with Willingness. She also forms part of Betapsi nio for luanne.