Are you scared of getting a mind blank in your HSC exam?

Don’t you hate it when you hit a wall and you can’t remember anything? You get overwhelmed and anxious and just can’t put pen to paper?

It happens to the best of us! That’s why in this video, Rowan will show you how to deal with a mind blank in an exam so that you can come back into focus and maximise your marks anyway!

Step 1: Acceptance
Step 2: Meditation
Step 3: Hydration
Step 4: Self-Talk
Step 5: Self-Confirmation
Step 6: Have a Plan!

Step 1: Acceptance

If you’re stuck with a mind blank in an exam, pushing yourself to try to force your way through that mental blank isn’t going to work. In fact, it’s going to have the opposite effect and make it even harder.

So the first thing that you need to do when you get a mind blank is to accept it and acknowledge that you’re going to need to take five minutes out of your exam time.

If you try to push through, what inevitably happens is you get more overwhelmed and then the entire exam is written off.

So the better approach is just to recognise that you need to take a five-minute break to bring yourself back into the right mindset!

Calming yourself down is the main priority.

Step 2: Meditation

In regards to calming yourself down when you get a mind blank in an exam, meditation is one of best approaches!

Now you might not meditate, that’s okay. It’s going to be super simple.

First, you need to:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Observe your breath
  3. Inhale for three seconds
  4. Exhale for three seconds
  5. Take 10 breaths in and out with this method

This is going to get you breathing a little more deeply. A whole lot of studies show that breathing regulates your sympathetic nervous system, which controls your anxiety and your stress.

Meditation is going to help you bring your heart rate down and lower the stress. This is important because when you are stressed, you can’t think, it’s literally shutting down and reducing your ability to think with your prefrontal cortex

Studies show that when you get stressed and anxious, your IQ and cognitive performance drops by 30%. It’s why you’re having that mental blank. This means that taking a second to meditate and re-centre can get rid of it!

Step 3: Hydration

Luckily, you’re allowed to bring a water bottle into your exam. A great thing to push through that mental blank is to have a sip.

This allows you to refresh and rehydrate yourself to snap you out of the blank headspace that you’re in.

It’s a super simple tip but super useful.

Step 4: Self-Talk

So the 4th thing you should do if you’ve got a mind blank in your exam is to identify what your self-talk is.

Your self-talk is that little voice in your head and what it’s telling you. For example, you might find yourself sitting in an exam and it’s saying:  “You don’t know anything. you’re stupid, you’re going to fail this test now. Aren’t you an idiot.”

The truth is that this little voice is not being supportive and encouraging. This is;t going to help you push through and overcome the mental blank.

So what you need to think about is what’s a more constructive and useful voice in self-talk that you can use in that moment?

It may be saying: Hey, I’m stuck right now, but I’m going to push through it. I’m going to get over it.”

When you’re meditating and you’re breathing and you’re focusing, it’ll give you an opportunity to have that self-awareness about what your self-talk is. Is it contributing to your mind blank or is it allowing you to overcome it?

Step 5: Self-Confirmation

The next thing to do once you’ve done all of these steps is to pick up the paper again and just flick through it.

The goal is to find something that you do remember and you do know!

What we’re trying to do here is create a trigger point to break through the mind block so that all of that memory starts opening up for you again.

The simplest thing you can do is flip through your paper and find something that just connects and makes you go “oh, I actually remember that.”

Completing something you do know is going to relax you, build your confidence and open up your ability to actually think clearly about what you need to do in the exam.

Step 6: Have a Plan!

The final critical thing that you should do if you get a mind blank in an exam is to already have a plan of how you’re going to handle it before it happens.

This way, you’re going to feel more confident when that blank hits you.

So what I want you to do right now is get a pen and paper and write down the steps that you will take if you get a mind blank in an exam. This way, you will be totally prepared!

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