(I received an email yesterday and based on that email, I am writing this post.)
This is the most important advice I would like to give medical students world wide. Or anyone for that matter - Don't take exams seriously.
Once exams start, you can not be stressing yourself.
It's a fragile period, you are testing yourself, there is competition and expectations that you have to meet. It's easy for anyone who isn't psychologically prepared or doesn't have the right mental attitude to break down.
I have heard of people become suicidal right before the exam or simply decide to quit.
Don't let stress kill you. It's just a piece of paper. The score is just a number. You have amazing, amazing things and adventures ahead of you, I promise. Just survive this. One day at a time.
Don't quit before trying. Just attempt and see what happens. Go ahead. Keep going, keep moving forward. You are more prepared than you think you are. It's just the stress fogging your thoughts.
I pretend it's video game. The test is just a level I need to cross by collecting points. I need to keep running like the dude in Temple Run and keep collecting coins. Going level after level just like in Candy Crush. I have given so many exams and crossed so many levels till date. Here's another one, no big deal. I don't need a high score to finish the game, I just need to play the game.
Practice reckless optimism. After reading one page, I do a flying kick and say I am gonna do so good in tomorrow's test. Laugh about how anxious you are and how the score won't even matter after 10 years. Sing a song. Eat chocolate. Be happy and keep studying. Fake it till you make it.
Antidote for common negative thoughts during exams -
My life depends on this, it's too important: No, it doesn't. I think of successful people who didn't do well in exams. It alleviates my anxiety.
I could have studied better: Yes, we could have always done better. That's what makes us human, having the possibility for improvement. Doing things better. It's okay to feel that way, it's not okay to drown in regret.
I am stupid: You're not. You're a medical student and you are very smart. Don't you dare call yourself stupid based on one bad exam.
I made too many silly mistakes: Learn from them, write them down. Do not repeat them in the next exam. That's all you can do.
I am gonna fail in tomorrow's test: We'll see what happens after the results come out. You don't get to decide this before giving the exam.
Today's test was horrible, I am not gonna make it: We'll see what happens after the results come out. You don't get to depress yourself over it today. You need to prepare yourself for the next exam.
I have so much too review and there's so much syllabus pending: Yes, of course. It's okay. There's an ocean of knowledge out there and you can't know everything.
Stop thinking so much. Just keep studying.
|Just keep swimming.|
I wish I could say these words to the people who quit when they needed to hear it.
I hope this helps you in some way. Come back to this page when you are stressed and send it to someone who needs to hear these words.
Pat yourself for making it so far. Appreciate yourself for holding it together, no matter how bad things got. And be very proud of yourself for surviving this. I love you.
Stay strong. You are awesome.