Karol Bagh | IAS GS Foundation Course | 29 May, 6 PM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Drishti IAS Blog

Mind Management Before Any Competitive Exam

  • 14 Sep 2022

Stress and anxiety before an exam indicate that you are about to do something meaningful that matters to you. The pressure, therefore, to a certain extent, is good for you; it lets you focus and perform well, but if it overwhelms you, affects your memory and cognition, it can cause problems. Time management helps you in the preparatory phase, but to perform to the best of your abilities, you must manage your mind during the exam.

Here are a few things that can be done for mind management before any competitive examination.

Keep your mindset in check

The right mindset is crucial if you want to grow in life. It helps you be better and keep striving for the desired result. If you want to achieve something, first you need to convince yourself that it is in your capacity to accomplish it, and then you need to take the necessary steps to reach your goals.

Before any examination, you need to be clear about what you want and why you want it. Once you know that, the process you need to follow to achieve it becomes clear. In order to achieve the goal, you need to keep checking your mindset to ensure that the plans you are making and the actions you are taking align with your goal. It is very easy to get distracted while pursuing the goal, so make an effort to keep checking your mindset and recenter whenever it is required.

Meditate: different types of meditation

Meditation is the best practice that can be followed to manage your mind and straighten out thoughts. It betters concentration, lets you filter out unnecessary things and gives you mental clarity.

There are different ways that you can meditate. Concentrating on your breath while you inhale and exhale in a sitting position, eyes closed, is the typical process we associate with meditation. Still, other forms of meditation can be practised.

You can do walking meditation. Go for walks alone and try not to think about anything but focus on your surroundings and what you see and hear. Try to be present where you are for a while, and give your mind rest.

Mindfulness is also a form of meditation in which you focus entirely on whatever you are doing for the time being and forget about everything else. Constantly performing activities that need you to focus on the task at hand will also help you perform better in the examination.

Physical activities and sleep

It is proven scientifically that physical activities result in better cognitive and neurobiological functions, lowering stress levels. If you fall into the category of the students who hyperfocus on studying and stop doing anything else as an exam starts approaching, then it is very important for you to not forget to indulge in some kind of physical activity like dancing, practising yoga, doing exercise, going for walks or playing your favourite sport for at least 15-20 minutes every day.


Sleep is essential for living beings to function at their optimum level. Lack of sleep adds to stress levels and increases stress, hampers sleep quality. Having a sound sleep to lower stress levels before the examination is necessary. Physical activities will also help you sleep better. Do not compromise sleeping for a couple of hours before the test. It will help you be alert and recall information while answering the questions.

Better diet

Diet plays a vital role in affecting our moods and responses. You might have noticed that stress directly affects our appetite; sometimes, under pressure, we tend to overeat, and at times, we cannot eat at all. Similarly, what kind of nutrition we provide to our body is also linked to the state of our being. Fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, whole grains and other vital nutrients like dairy products, nuts and seeds help reduce stress and anxiety. In contrast, packaged food, sugar-loaded and high-calorie items might induce stress and hinder our performance in the exam. So have a balanced, preferably homemade food while you prepare and appear for the exam.

Pay attention to your emotional state

Emotional well-being is also essential to perform well in the examination. If you have a sound support system, your chances of scoring better increase. So, you may talk to people like your friends, family, and teachers who know and understand your aspirations and encourage you to be better. Also, avoid contacting people who knowingly or unknowingly might derail you from your path before the examination.

Focus on what is working for you

The thought of appearing in the exam induces stress and anxiety in our bodies because we get worried about things going wrong. Shifting our focus from things that can go wrong to the things that have gone right so far can calm us down. We can practice doing that.

For instance, rather than focusing on the possibility of questions asked from the portion that you have not prepared that well, focus on what you have prepared for and how that knowledge can help you make an educated guess. Rather than focusing on what if I do not qualify in this attempt, focus on you being there in the examination hall and appreciating your effort and courage to face the exam. Remember there are people who could not gather the courage to even appear in the exam. They have fallen prey to self-doubt. Some people could not be there for several other reasons. Appreciate that you have made it this far and believe you will perform well.

Enjoy the process without focusing on the outcome

Competitive exams are designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of several concepts. During the exam, instead of focusing on the outcome as to whether you will qualify for the exam or not, try focusing on the process, and you will be able to see what topics you have understood fully and where you are still confused and need more attention.

No matter what the result may be, you are not going out of the examination hall empty-handed. So, live the experience and be ready to learn from it. All the best!

 Priyanka Todariya 

Priyanka Todariya is a Public Administration post-graduate and an experienced communications professional who has extensively worked for several government entities like Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and state governments like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

SMS Alerts
Share Page