We've made it to that time of the year. You have your final exams, and I have meetings in preparation for the next term. My intention with this letter is to massage motivation into your brain, oiled by practical strategies that can enable you to do your best.
My initial letters to you stressed the importance of positive self-awareness. We are returning to this concept here because I want to make sure you understand the importance of loving yourself. Confidence is an internal emotion you must embrace as you prepare for your final exams.
You can create confidence. Through discipline, working hard, and affirming yourself, it is possible to build your belief system. Believing in yourself and the activities you've done in preparation is critical to taking a high stakes exam.
Did you attend every class or watch every lecture recap video? Were you consistent with getting to your “study space” to put in the hours to reinforce the material? Did you attend office hours to gain clarity on topics that were difficult to understand? Have you tried to teach someone else the concepts you have learned? If you've answered yes to each of these questions, it is probable that you have put in the necessary work to be ready for the final exam.
Many students struggle with believing that what they’ve done is enough. They study at a specific time each day, but when they sit for the exam, anxiety clouds their thinking. The pressure to demonstrate their knowledge makes them second guess their abilities. They say to themselves, “I am going to fail.”
An optimistic mindset is an essential component of achieving your desired score. Confidence sets the table for optimism to sit at your mental table. The belief that it is possible to do well derives from how you prepare. Make sure to attend class, meet with teaching assistants, find a tutor, and put in the personal time to dig deep into the material. Do all that you can to optimize your ability to focus in these final weeks of the term.
I recommend that you fast from television until you have completed your exams.
TV can interfere with your ability to think clear. I am not saying that you should only study in your downtime during these last few weeks of the semester. Your brain needs time to relax and process information. Supplement the time you would spend in front of the television with exercise, prayer, meditation, talking with a family member, or other activities that can help you feel good about yourself.
How many times do you change your answers during an exam? It’s often better to keep your first intuitive response. Going with your intuition is easier said than done, but again it brings us back to the point of me writing you this letter. You must believe in yourself and the work that you've done in preparation for this point in the term.
If you've slacked all semester, you should be concerned. However, if you put in the work that you claim you did, trust in your process.
Peace and blessings,