Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Today’s daily prompt is called Fight or Flight and it asks;

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

I have no such memories. I am as cool as a cucumber. Apparently they are pretty cool, I’m not a fan of them so I can’t really comment, but its what I hear.

The only time I used to get the belly-twisting nervousness was just before exams. Not always, not even that often, but sometimes. And it was never during them, nor while walking to school/uni, but that moment stood outside the exam hall or room or where ever the exam was taking place.

Everyone else would be stood around looking scared and nervous, doing their last minute revision, I would just stand to the side with my mp3 player on listening to music staring at the ceiling trying to imagine I was somewhere else. Afterwards they always used to say that I looked so calm and unmoved about the thought of having the exam.

It was always that moment we got called into the exam hall that it would kick in but as soon as I sat down at my desk it went again. I always put it down to the fact that once I sat down there was no turning back so it didn’t really matter how I felt now, I just had to get on with it.

I’ve never failed an exam so I guess it wasn’t exactly justified.

Here’s my tip on how to survive exams.

Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep, but spend an hour or so before bed doing some you enjoy or find relaxing. Watch a film, read a book, play some videogames, whatever you like but no alcohol. This is one of the few times is life where I will suggest avoiding alcohol.

Next morning get up early, like 6am for a morning exam. Have a relaxing bath, getting up so early means you can spend a bit of time soaking. Spend a bit of time reading over your notes one last time while taking your time eating breakfast.

Now its time to leave your house. Leave your notes at home. They will just make you want to take them out of your bag and read over and over them as you stand outside the exam hall. This is not good.

Leave the house with plenty of time to get to where your exam is. You don’t want to get caught in traffic or something like that, it will just cause you to get stressed which isn’t good.

If possible walk to your exam, the fresh air will help your head. It will also mean you get to avoid traffic which could seriously delay you and stress you out.

MP3 players and other music playing devices are your friends here.

Once you are outside your exam hall don’t be afraid to avoid other people. If they are frantically reading over their notes or quizzing/testing each other to see what they know they are best avoided. They will just make you stressed out and let the belly-twisting nervousness creep in.

My friends always appreciated that I had my exam routine which involved being left alone for large parts before an exam. Just let them know and they should be OK with it.

Other tips:

  • Make sure you go to the toilet before your exam so you don’t need to go halfway through.
  • Carry many pens. If you think you have too many pens you don’t, grab two more.
  • Leave your phone at home. You don’t want to have to worry about remembering did you or didn’t you turn your phone off. It’s a distraction, ditch it.
  • Keep some tissues on you. Exams are always during the winter when you might have a cold, or the summer when you might have hay fever. Either way you don’t want to have to worry about what will happen if you sneeze without them.

OK the exam is now over. Well done you survived. Now go find your friends and head to the nearest bar. Make sure to have at least one pint for every half hour of that exam.

Do not talk about the exam. I’ve never understood why people feel the need to discuss the exam they’ve just done, going “oooh what did you put for this question”. No! Don’t do it. If your friends try to do that you are allowed by law to slap them and confiscate their drink.

Next!

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