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Examititus - Symptoms, Prevention and Cure
As I write this, the exams are creeping nearer and nearer every second. And I am down with Exam Fever, also known as Examinitus. Even though I’m CLC (cramming like crazy) this year (it’s one of the two cures to Exam fever. We’ll look at it later), I’m determined not to be infected by Examinitus next year! And I’ll tell you how to do it too! Let’s look at the symptoms of this deadly infection:
Panic Attacks, Sleeplessness, Giving up, Rudeness, Anxiety, Moodiness, Emotional Eating:
Imagine yourself sitting calmly at your desk. The Maths teacher is explaining some mumbo jumbo algebra. You don’t bother to listen. What’s the use? You can always ask your Mum how it’s done. Meanwhile, all the students around you are making notes like mad. Suddenly, you glance at them, and you start to Panic. These are your thoughts:
Oh my God! The exams are actually a week away! I haven’t learnt anything yet! What’ll I do?? I- I can’t study right now. I’ll have to fail, I guess. I don’t have an option.
Then, you snap out of your Panic Attack. You’re playing with your inkpot, a thing you never do. It falls and breaks. Your friend’s clothes are all inky. She says:
“Ohh man! That was my new uniform!”
“Why can’t you just watch where you sit??” You reply rudely
You go home, wishing you could cry out loud. You sit at the dinner table, waiting for your lunch. As soon as it is put in front of you, you begin to eat like a wolf. Your mother remarks:
“Do eat nicely, please.” You answer back rudely:
“Mind your own business! Can’t a person EAT around here anymore???”
At night, you toss and turn over, but you just can’t go to sleep. Even though you act unconcerned, at the back of your mind, you’re worried about your exams.
Can you see what you’re doing? You had a Panic Attack, You gave up and thought you had to fail, you were Anxious while playing with the inkpot, and you were Rude when you talked to your friends and your mother. You were doing emotional eating, when you “ate like a wolf”, and you were moody when you wanted to cry, and you were sleepless when you went to bed. Do you see any of these symptoms in yourself? As they say, Prevention is better than cure. Examinitus is very infectious. Want to see how to PREVENT this horrible, horrible disease?
It may sound clichéd, but the most important tip to prevent Examination Ever is to start early. If the entire term, you haven’t touched your books, just imagine your plight when at the end, you try to deal with a pile of reading and memorizing the course. So just start learning little by little, the things you do in class as soon as you come home, and I guarantee you won’t be attacked by last-minute Examinitus! As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctors away (or rather, a subject a day keeps the failure away).
Asking & Answering Questions:
So a lot of us are scared of either asking, or answering questions. Get over your phobia! So what, if you give a wrong answer to a question? At least you tried! You’re better than those dumbos who didn’t even bother! And you can always learn something new. As for asking questions, my dad is in the army so we’re always moving, and I’m always joining new schools. EVERYTIME I join a new school, my mum lectures me on asking questions: “Ask your teacher questions. Ask the same question a thousand times, until and unless you don’t understand. But do be attentive.” We take the word “teacher” for granted. Think about it for a second. What does teach mean? The Free Online Dictionary describes it as “To impart knowledge or skill to”. So what’s the use of the teacher if the knowledge doesn’t reach the students? Let that knowledge reach you. Ask questions, and answer ‘em as well. As William Arthur Ward put it: “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
Making Notes & Highlighting:
Many of us make notes. Even I do. But the thing is, we make notes at exam time. So make notes during class, on a rough copy or something. Copy down everything your teacher writes or says immediately. Believe me, this will help LOADS. Another fun way of learning is highlighting important phrases in your book, as you read. These important points will immediately catch your eye when it’s time to study! This is my fave way, because of all the different colours available. Maybe you could mark the important definitions with yellow, the answers to questions with blue, and probable questions with pink! It looks so cool!
Making a Schedule/ First things first:
Make a timetable, schedule, whatever you call it. Schedules help you organize and manage your time, as well as make you realize what’s important and what’s not. We’ll call your important things (which are here referred to studying) your big rocks and unimportant things (TV, Internet, Video games, story books, phone calls, parties etc) will be called pebbles. Now, if you take a bucket and fill it with pebbles first, and then fit the big rocks onto it, some of these rocks won’t fit on top. On the other hand, if you empty that bucket and fill it with big rocks first, all those little pebbles will fit on them easily afterwards. So finish your “big rocks” first, and then fit in those tiny “pebbles” in the cracks of time you get.
Sharpen the Saw:
No one’s telling you to study ALL THE TIME, are they? Get time to sharpen the saw. Take a look at this story, taken from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey:
I was going on a walk in the forest. I came upon a guy furiously sawing down a tree.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
“I’m sawing down the tree” came his curt reply.
“How long have you been at it?”
Four hours, so far, but I’m really making progress.” He says, sweat dripping down his chin.
“Your saw looks really dull.” I said. “Why don’t you take a break and try sharpening it?”
“I can’t, you idiot. I’m too busy sawing.”
We all know who the real idiot is, right? If the guy would’ve taken a break and sharpened his saw, his job would’ve been finished three times faster. Similarly, if you study all the time and don’t “Sharpen the saw”, or in other words, renew yourself, you’ll hardly learn anything. Let’s first take a look at the four dimensions of life:
Body- The Physical Dimension: Exercise, eat well, sleep well, relax,
Mind- The Mental Dimension: Read, study, write, learn new skills
Heart- The Emotional Dimension: Family, Friends, Give service, laugh
Soul- The Spiritual Dimension: Meditate, keep a journal, Pray, Practise hobbies, Daydream
You may ask “Which dimension is better?” The answer is: “That’s a stupid question.” It’s important for us to keep balance in all dimensions of life, but each of them is important. For example, The Mental Dimension is important, but you spend too much time in it, your Body (The Physical Dimension) will become too tired to do anything else. Similarly, if you spend all your time in the Emotional Dimension, You’ll get out of touch with your mind.”And if you spend equal time in the first three, and ignore the last, you’ll lose connection with your soul, or your inner self. I think we’ve all got the point. Keep Sharpening the Saw, but keep a balance and you’ll feel better and act better. As the ancient Greeks said, “Nothing overmuch”. And then, if I remember correctly, the best doctors came from Greece. So let’s just listen to the professionals.
Easy, isn’t it? It’s easier than it sounds. Why not try it? But if you’re already down with Examititus, let’s look at the cure. But I’m warning you, it’s not as simple as Prevention! You’ll have to learn the hard way:
First, let’s look at the Do’s and Don’ts of cure, through this story:
There was almost a week before my finals started, and I was infected my Exam Fever. What could I do? My Parents told me to study all the time, my Teachers told me to concentrate on ONLY my studies, but who can get away from the computer, TV, iPad and the PSP for as long as a WEEK? I went towards a friend (who was the best student in class) for help. She said: “Trust me; I know what’ll help you. RELAXATION. Relax yourself. Be cool. It’s a test, not the end of the world. You’ll learn the concepts at the last day, believe me. They’re REALLY easy.” I went ahead with her advice. It sounded awesome. Much easier, don’t you think? I followed her suggestion throughout the week. I used to play games, text, read story books or simply just sit and daydream all the time my parents thought I was studying. I hardly knew a word of the exam, but I kept her advice in mind, ‘It’s just a test, not the end of the world’. My result day arrived. I was cool, relaxed, not a bit worried. It was just a test, not the end of the world. I saw my friend’s parents hugging her, smiling at her. She was second. Surely I was first? I waited calmly as my parents opened my result. I can never forget the look on their faces. I had failed. I had not been promoted. From that day, I declared my friend as a quack.
The narrator of this story spent too much time in the Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Dimension of Life, and in the end, eventually failed. Why? Because she had listened to a quack, instead of the professional doctors. Sure, sharpen the saw, but don’t sharp it so that it breaks.
CLC (Cramming like crazy) is a common cure for Examititus. But it’s hard. You have it as a substitute for starting early. What is cramming? How’s it done, you ask? "Cramming", means to study hard or to study a large amount of material in a short period of time. To CLC, you SIT at one place, and you CRAM like MAD, for ATLEAST 3 hours, and MAXIMUM 10 hours. You aren’t actually able to learn anything, but you’re “studying”. Don’t understand the difference? Look at the definitions below:
Study: to apply oneself to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading
Learn: to acquire knowledge or skill; to become informed
Most people think they benefit by CLC, because they get good grades and get promoted to the next class, but think about the long run. When you’re asked the same questions in the next class, is it likely that you’ll know the answers? But I guess it’s the only treatment for Exam fever in my current condition. But it’s not too late for you, is it? Want to look at the other cure?
The INO Treatment:
The INO (Indoor and Outdoor) Treatment is much easier than CLC. It has two parts, the INDOOR TREATMENT, and the OUTDOOR TREATMENT. Both are equally important. The Indoor Treatment takes place in the Hospital (School), and the Outdoor treatment takes place at home. INO is also a part of “Start Early”. It starts from the beginning of the term, till the very end.
The Indoor Treatment: As I said, this takes place at the hospital (school), with a million other patients (students), all being treated together. The Hospital admits you for about 8 hours, and gives me (I don’t know about you) seven different medicines named English, Science, Maths, Urdu, History, Islamiat and Geography. The Doctors (teachers) discharge you once you have taken all your medicines, but you have to come again the next day. The Doctors also prescribe you medicines (usually up to 3) to take at home (homework), and sometimes they also tell you to learn the medicines’ ingredients by heart (tests). If you remember all these ingredients and keep taking the medicines, you’ll recover from Examititus in no time!
The Outdoor treatment: The outdoor treatment takes place at home. After being discharged for the day, you go home and take your medicines and learn their ingredients for about 1-3 hours (or more, if you can manage). It is important that you ask your family doctors (parents, elder siblings etc) about prescriptions you don’t understand. And remember to keep sharpening the saw (or in this case, polishing the medicine spoon)! When the next day starts, you are required to go back to the Hospital.
Wasn’t that easy? All you have to do throughout the term is keep taking your seven medicines (or how many you have), and learn their ingredients! This way, you won’t have to CLC at the end of the term!
Well, we’ve looked at Symptoms, Prevention, as well as Cure of Examititus. Now, it’s your choice what you want to do. Good Luck!