How to ACE the NMAT (The Not-so-haggard Way) - PART 3

Now, you have had a background on NMAT, on what to do, and what to expect per subject. You've done your review, and you think you're confident enough to get your target score. So, what now? You're planning to pass the NMAT, right?

Let's imagine yourself a day before the exams. Cramming, reviewing, reading, searching for NMAT forums online to see what others are doing, searching Twitter with hashtag #NMAT to read others' statements about their anxiety. And you, what are you going to do?

(Note: Have you read the parts 1 and 2 of this article? If not, you can click here for the part 1, and here for the part 2.)

1. STOP. Reading others' feelings of stress, anxiety, and others might dramatically increase your anxieties too. Anxiety is contagious - it may affect anyone, and at a very steady rate. Stop reading those posts. What you can do, prepare yourself mentally, relax, or watch TV. Crammers like me usually start their review one to two weeks before the exams, but I stopped reviewing a day before just to have a relaxing time for my body and brain.

2. Prepare your things. If you're trying to pass the NMAT, then, you need to have your materials first. Get a piece of plastic envelope, put a paper envelope inside, then get the following materials: your NMAT Identification form, fully accomplished, with picture, your notice of admission, one valid ID (driver's license, NBI Clearance, PRC License, School ID (if still in school)), two-three pencils (No. 2), your eraser and your sharpener. These essentials are really needed, if you want to take and ace the NMAT.

3. SLEEP EARLY! People, usually with their anxiety, tend not to sleep and just chat with their friends online to relieve their anxiety. But boy, that's hard. Sleep is needed to consolidate memories, and to improve concentration the next day. Imagine having lesser concentration, comprehension, and always experiencing mental block the day of the exam, won't be that hard? That late-night anxiety-related over-waking (if there's such a term) won't help you. Moreover, you need to wake up and be early the next day, right?

4. Calculate. This step may also help you with your quantitative part of the exam. 

Calculate your hours of sleep. If you think you need 8 hours, then it's fine. Just before you sleep, calculate and set your alarm. If you have more than one alarm clocks, then it's fine. 

Calculate your travel time. Remember that you are not the only one taking the exams that day. There are lots of you taking the exam, and heavy traffic is an absolute possibility. In my experience, I need to go to the testing area around 7:00 AM, and being in a nearby province, I needed to go before 6:00 AM, to find out I arrived way early than my target. (I think I got to UST in just 30 minutes?) Well, that time is spent looking for my building, as well as in falling in a very very LONG line

Calculate your possible expenses. Travel expenses, as well as food expenses also need to be considered, well for not-so-rich persons like me. There are a lot of food stalls present around UST, but I am not familiar of them all, so, me and my sister went to a fastfood restaurant.

5. Be familiar with the place. If you're not from the testing area, it's better if you familiarize yourself with the area. CEM will give you a map that will show you the way to your building, the gates that you need to enter, and the room in which you will take your exams. Ask friends who have studied there for instructions on how to commute to that location, as well as the room, the building, and the food stalls wherein you might save some bucks instead of going to fastfood chains.

6. PRAY. We may have different religions, sects, different beliefs, but there is one thing in common - we can pray. We need spiritual guidance, to relieve that turmoil inside us, to protect us from all anxieties. We can also pray for us to be safe to and from the testing area, and to give us an open and wise mind while taking the examinations. It's free, and it's helpful, trust me.

7. Relax. You've done your best, given that small amount of time to review, those resources that you have, and the determination to pass the NMAT. Now, maybe, it's time to relax. Relax while before, during, and after taking the NMAT. I remember one thing while I was taking the exams - the song "Some Nights" by fun. has been playing again and again while I was taking it, and I guess that relaxed me a bit. I don't know why - it was never my favorite song at that time, and I just heard it for a few times, but it kept playing in my mind. Try remembering your favorite song, have it on-loop while travelling, have your mom prepare your favorite food before the exams, and do something relaxing. Having a relaxed mind during examinations is the best thing to have.

8. Eat a not-so-light but not-so-heavy meal. Going in and out the classroom while taking your exams is a no-no, and it would be a waste if you lose your eligibility to take the exams just because you can't wait to take a leak, right? Moreover, if you're given breaks, use the time wisely - take a leak, do your thing, do whatever rituals you're doing before taking an exam, so as not to interfere with your exam-taking.

9. Be nice to people. Be nice to the guards, to fellow testtakers, to the proctor, and to every person you meet in the hallways. Smiling can increase the release of happy hormones, and can make someone's day. Pay it forward. If you flash a smile to your fellow testtaker, then he/she might give it back. It lessens your anxiety, right? Greet personnel, say thank you for everything that they give. Then good karma will come upon you.

10. Follow instructions. Simple. If the proctor says that you need to fill this up, and write this down, do it. They are the ones checking your paper. No considerations done. Listen carefully for whatever they say. If they say "time's up", then it's time to stop. Do not write ahead of your signal. Erasures are not allowed (as far as I can remember), and if they are, you should avoid them. Remember that the one checking is a machine, and not a person. They may interpret your erasures as wrong answers.

FINALLY. Stand up confidently, and pass your examination paper. Remember that you have done your best to prepare for this exam. Now, as you pass your paper, be confident and smile while going out of the testing area. Don't listen to those people babbling about the answers, it might just give you more anxiety. Just go out, breathe in and out, relax, and go home. Wait for the results. If you pass, then it's good! Welcome to the Medical Student world. If not, it's fine too! At least you had a grasp of what's in store for you in the next exam, and eventually, you'll reach your dreams too!

These tips I've given you cannot cover all of NMAT, nor cannot ensure that you will pass the NMAT. However, these are tips that I've applied in my own process of taking the examinations. They may be helpful for most, but not to everyone. Remember that the most important part of preparing for the NMAT is reviewing itself - making yourself familiar with concepts.

If you know that you are strong in this subject matter, don't be overconfident, enhance that knowledge. If you know that you're weak on this subject matter, don't follow my lead. Review, review, review and you'll eventually get it done.

One more tip: there's a rumor that the November/December NMAT (every year) is easier than the March/April NMAT. However, there is no concrete evidence of such occurrence, just testimonials from previous exam takers. BUT, this is not an excuse not to review for the upcoming NMAT exams!

I've taken my NMAT and passed the exam. Now, I'm moving forward towards my dream - to become a physician. And I can't wait to see all of us moving towards our dreams. Again, good luck on your exams, and don't forget that chocnut!


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