This time, an online session!

Good. We have come so close to the period of taking exams, which, this time, are supposed to be carried out „online”! We are only saying close, since there is still a bit of time left to postpone the analysis of the situation and to reconsider the whole emotional spectrum altogether, from enthusiasm to anxiety or even dismay, which often happens to be the case on the eve of examination.

This time, however, things are slightly different. Even the key term, our so – called online, could pose for a great challenge. Just like any other challenges, it can work to your advantage or, on the contrary, it may lead you to a setback. It`s up to you to decide which is which.

Nevertheless, we shall do our best such that the following lines come to your aid in what concerns essential aspects with respect to your academic performance. In case you prove to be knowledgeable about all of these, very well, we can only be thankful and hopefully snatch a smile of understanding on your part.

We won`t pester you regarding the best ways of learning for exams, how you should pay attention to organizing your materials, in which order you should go through them or if it is for the better to use colours (and the colours holding a code of their own!). Nor shall we expect to have you translate the courses into schemes or any other means of substracting the main ideas in the process. We shall resume to telling you that worthy people have analysed the concentration ability of youngsters nowadays (meaning you) and have come to the conclusion that, on average, it is lost at a time frame of every 11 minutes due to intrinsic and extrinsic distractions. However, that wouldn`t necessarily be a catastrophe! It`s just that, the real problem is pulling yourself together…which seems to take about 25 minutes in order to do so. And that would be the most optimistic scenario, if there were any chances at all for it to happen!

Thus, let`s say you take our word for it and you really understand the danger of being efficient for only 33 minutes from a whole interval of 1h 50 min, which usually bodes well with the duration of a regular exam. In other words, maybe all of these make sense now for you to believe us when we say it can all come down to disruptive factors and lack of attention, or rather it should all confine to avoiding those for as much as possible.

  • External disturbing factors. You are definitely familiar with the frustration you get on your neighbour who happens to have just started to beat out the carpets! The same goes for the morning alarms that seem to only work in such a way that they resurrect people from death, a naughty dying – and – rising god, if you will. Let`s also give credit to the pet, which seems to want to get out all of the sudden, the colleagues who tortures you with hundreds of text messages on WhatsApp, your parents coming in and out of your room without fail, who may have forgotten this tiny detail that you have an EXAM to take! Indeed, that`s the way it is, since they all come in full package with the advantages of an online assessment.

Unfortunately, as for your neighbour that beats out the carpet, we can only advise you to close the window or distance yourself from the source of the noise as much as you can. In fact, to a certain extent, this recommendation applies to most of disturbing external factors: use action and communication in your favour for all these situations, which could root you out of your 11 minutes concentration bubble and throw you to the 25 minutes of trying to come back on the right track.

  • Internal disturbing factors. If we were to be completely honest, only 20% of these disturbing factors fall into the previous mentioned category, although the room temperature (either too low or too high) seems to be a more frequent and intense disturbing factor than any other thought of yours. And maybe this is exactly how it is! However, in most of the cases, the too many options that we dispose of are the real issue… and precisely for the one we so much rely on in exam condition, namely our brain. For an online assessment these options could be translated by a variety of alternatives, such as: Should I go over the slides or rather go over the book handout,… what if I can`t remember something? Should I call a colleague? A parent? Or should I just look it up on the Internet instead? Unfortunately, this is the time in which our brain may not be able to refrain from observing, analysing or even getting stuck with a certain information of the type Man, this book really has weird covers! Your voice seems a bit rough, did something happen to you? or something along the lines of What an interesting add for a perfume / car / sneakers etc, no matter how trivial it would seem to be.

What we really want to say is that all you think that might constitute a tremendous advantage within the online evaluation process may very well turn out to be the other side of the coin, considering the unfortunate and poor management of the situation. If you would, nonetheless, strive to follow these simple pieces of advice, the end-result may fill you with joy and satisfaction of not having re – examination session ruin your summer. Therefore:

  • Be sure that you have everything at hand. Without laptop, charging cable and a paid Internet connection, it would be rather difficult to take part in the online exam. It wouldn’t hurt to have a tablet as well, just as a backup in case the power goes out. On the other hand, as rudimentary as it may seem, a pencil and a sheet of paper could make sometimes miracles.
  • Take control over disturbing factors. Check beforehand any possible situations that would slow down your rhythm. Don`t forget about:
    • Noises such background turbulence, white noise, music, a small chit – chat (within or outside your room), smartphone notifications, Internet etc.
    • Smells like those of coffee (which may be invigorating) or soup (which could arouse your hunger);
    • Tastes that are more or less pleasant, coming from the meal or snacks you have just had before (and which might make you thirsty, for example);
    • Sense of touch, pain and heat. We know it sounds almost a little bit too academic, but it should be on the list since it is pretty much responsible for the comfort you feel when sitting at your desk or kitchen table (although we wouldn`t recommend it, hopefully there are some other options you could consider), your well – being given by order and discipline of things in your room (or even mess, since it`s yours for that matter!), the clothes you choose to wear (and we would strongly plead for eliminating pyjamas, although a costume and a bowtie would also be inadequate) etc;
    • Vision, and especially peripheral vision (meaning observation of all kinds of movements, no matter if it`s consciously or unconsciously made), although the wallpaper of your PC should not be overlooked as well (the sensation of blinking or having someone staring at you).
  • Cut down on alternatives. Once you designed and adjusted the environment according to your preferences, you can then go for the next step, namely deciding the working method. If you decide exactly what you are about to do, in which order and measure, whilst keeping a dose of flexibility and… of fair – play, the exam could unfold better than you can only imagine, provided that you have also learnt something up to that crucial moment. In absence of a continuous alternation between smartphone, PC, books and family, which would normally do nothing else except sucking your energy, time and concentration, could make you discover that these years of college were indeed useful, that you learnt many things which go hand in hand together and can help you solve the requirements for the current finals.
  • Establish your own breaks. Well, it`s a given that we can`t force you not to take a moment for yourself in between the subjects. The only mention here is that it would be even more so useful that you do that only when necessary and not when your little brother pays you a visit, when your cat wants to be heard at all costs, your mother call you over for lunch or your colleagues wish you happy birthday on WhatsApp. Don`t you agree? Likewise, don`t forget to make sure you have a stable Internet connection. It would be such a pity if you knew all the answers, if your paper were to be a masterpiece and you would find yourself constrained and unable to send none of them in turn.

And that`s about it. There are definitely more to add, but too much nagging won`t do the trick. That`s why we choose to believe in you, in your willpower to do things best, as well as in the capacity to decide the most efficient way for each and one of you all.

Good luck with studying! Fingers crossed!

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