An Italian proverb follows, “A hundred cartloads of anxiety will not pay an ounce of debt”. Most of us experience some level of anxiety during tests. Normal levels of stress or nervousness can help you work, think faster and more effectively, and improve your performance. However, when higher levels of anxiety affect performance, it becomes a problem. And when it comes to Picture Perception & Description Test (PPDT) in SSBs, anxiety levels can be overwhelming and make us suffer as a result of poor performance. But we simply can’t afford poor execution in PPDT because it costs us our chances of getting screened in, the very first step of selection.
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Let’s read some ways to control nervousness just before the PPDT
- You have just sat down in the exam hall and you feel your panic starts to develop: Make yourself comfortable. Have you been to the toilet? Take a few deep breaths and sighs to reduce tension. Sit with your eyes closed for a little while.
- Most of the candidates feel tense at the point of narration: Whatever your state of preparation, your task now is to do your best.
- Focus on the test: Let your thoughts to flow. Visualize what it will be like in the next few minutes and plan how are you gonna respond. For the narration part, just collect all pieces of your story point wise in your mind and deliver fluently.
- Do your best to ignore everyone else while you are in the testing hall: Not easy, but it helps.
- Just before the group discussion, if your panic gets worse: move out, take some fresh air and relax. Drink some water. Breathe slowly and close your eyes for a few moments. Shake your arms. Move your head slowly from side to side to relieve tension. Say something positive and encouraging to yourself. Imagine yourself somewhere else (where you feel happy and relaxed).
- Approach screening with confidence: Use whatever strategies you can to personalize success; visualization, logic, talking to yourself, practice, personal situation and skills. View it as an opportunity to demonstrate your personality traits.
- Allow yourself plenty of time: Especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early to avoid the hassle.
- Strive for a relaxed state of concentration: Avoid thinking before the PPDT session. It diverts your concentration.
- Don’t think about the fear: Pause, think about the next step and keep on and follow the tasks, step by step.
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- Use positive reinforcement for yourself: Acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best. This boosts your confidence to a different level.
- Expect some anxiety: It’s a reminder that you want to do your best and can provide strength.
Just keep it manageable.
- Realize that anxiety can become a “habit”: And it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed.
- Be prepared: Organize what materials you will need for and before the test; like your call letter, documents, pens, etc. Use a checklist. When you have all things organized beforehand, you are stress-free.
- Be on time: Half of your anxiety is caused when you are late for the test. Start early. Don’t work too close to the test, a night before or in the morning itself. Do something relaxing like take a walk, have a shower, etc.
- After the test, review how you did: Prepare an outline of what worked and hold onto those strategies. It does not matter how small those efforts are, they are the building blocks to your success. Also, list what did not work and mark it for improvement. Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming these obstacles.