As a human being it is a natural tendency to make mistakes, but making it a habit can be costly. Let’s have a look at the common causes of silly mistakes and how to rectify them.
Common Causes of Mistakes
The main causes of mistakes while attempting an exam:
- Thinking about the previous questions which you have not attempted
- Worrying about the final result
With So Much at Stake–No Wonder We Panic
Let’s imagine it as the most important time of your life–you are going to write your JEE Advanced exam. You have to score a very good rank to ensure that your life path advances towards the excellent future you desire.
Even though you have aced previous exams and prepared well, what actually matters are those six hours where you’re taking the exam. Your state of mind and mental acuity during those six hours is what ultimately counts the most.
It seems to be very different from our preparatory exams. There are many students coming from different places and different institutions who are all very well prepared for the exam. So we start panicking–and our brain goes blank for a few minutes. We have so many external pressures–from our parents, teachers, or ourselves–that our minds can lock up before even starting the exam.
It can get so bad that we start thinking, “What the heck is happening to me?” “I can’t do this! I can’t secure a very good rank as per everyone’s expectations, and I can’t get into a good IIT!” What often follows is a type of panic that threatens to set in, and have your mind wandering and utterly unfocused during possibly the most important six hours of your life (at least so far).
And if the panic doesn’t set in at the outset of the exam, it can creep in later. In the middle of the exam you may start thinking about the remaining questions, how hard they may be, the fact that time is ticking away, and about what the final result will be for you. This is ALL DISTRACTION. All of it, some of it, or even things not listed here may take over your mind when you need it most.
So, the million dollar question is, “how do you keep your cool during such an intense situation?” How can we build a psychologically strong mind that will eject ALL extraneous thoughts, and keep us in test mode for the full six hours?
Of course, how well you prepared for the JEE is incredibly important. But the most important thing during the actual exam is how well you managed to train your brain not to be distracted and remain under your control. In the exam, your brain may start worrying about your teacher who expected you to be a very good ranker as you are very active in class and performed very well in exams. So, you should be aware that these things may pop into your mind–and you must train yourself to remain under your control so that you can get the highest marks possible.
In order to control our brain, we have to psychologically train our brain in an efficient manner so that it does not go out of order when we need it the most. So we must frequently face these types of situations in order to sort out how they should be dealt with.
Actually, trying to rectify our own mistakes is a very tough job, as your brain says it is correct even though it is incorrect. When we recall our mistakes they may appear to be silly. For example, say there is a simple calculation and in a hurry to attempt the next question (or worrying about the previous questions that we left unanswered), we may make that simple calculation mistake and probably score a negative mark.
Imagine a situation where you got an excellent idea and spent 2 to 3 minutes on solving a question–only to end up with a simple calculation mistake which cost you precious marks. Even if it was a silly mistake, the consequences were quite serious. It cost you your time, and left you with nothing more than a negative mark.
So, in order to reduce these types of mistakes it is important to realise that a question paper setter does not offer us time to solve all the questions. We simply must train our brains that we will do what we know perfectly, without a single mistake. If you are at pace then you can always solve a little more.
So before even appearing for the exam, you should have the mindset that declares “I can attend my exam without fear, without worrying about anything”.
Efficient Mind Training
So, in order to train your brain efficiently, you have to repeatedly put yourself under stressful situations, and make yourself handle them. Make yourself (and your mind) get accustomed to facing situations that you’ve never faced before. Put yourself (and your mind) through your paces so that you can be prepared for any kind of tough situation, and handle it flawlessly.
Some additional tips:
- Practice, practice, practice! I cannot stress this one enough. Timing yourself, sitting through full exams “as if” it were the real thing will help you immensely. You will have done this before, and on test day, you will be much less stressed out.
- Don’t allow yourself to think negatively. When you find yourself worrying, doubting yourself, or overcome with anxiety–STOP! Have a quick self-talk session. Remind yourself that you are awesome and intelligent. All you can do is your best! So do it, and make a habit of kicking negative thoughts OUT of your mind.
- Stay away from demoralizing people. Don’t let them snare you in their negative traps!
- Reassure yourself that no one is perfect. You will work hard, and do your absolute best! Believe that you can achieve your goals. Remind yourself of this daily.
- Expect hiccups. No, I don’t mean the physical kind! I mean, expect that there will be a couple of “curve balls” thrown at you during he exam. It’s nothing to get worked up about. Keep your cool–and move on. (You’ll get better at this as you take more and more practice tests.)
Finally, we should not treat any mistake as “silly”. We have to accept every mistake, try to rectify it as soon as possible, and try not to repeat it again. If our mind is strong enough, we can hope to reduce our mistakes and be successful. Give your best to your JEE preparation and ace the JEE. All the best!