Once you have made the decision to prepare for a competition, whatever its nature, you feel both overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and skills that need to be acquired and at the same time disoriented by the fairly long time you have available before the day. Here are some practical tips to help you feel confident and ready to face the challenges.
Mark your year according to the competition
Make no mistake about it, passing a competition depends first and foremost on your motivation and the willingness you put into deepening the subjects you are studying. You will need a framework to help you understand the breadth of the knowledge you need to gather. This is why you should take half a day to discover the entire competition programme. Spread the chapters out by week until the day of the tests, so that you can be sure that you have learned everything you need to know.
Set aside time for revision before the day of the tests.
Allow several weeks (usually 3 or 4) before the date of writing to review everything you have learned. This will allow you to refresh your knowledge and work on your visual memory. So take this into account when organizing your learning schedule!
The indispensable option of parallel training
In the case of competitions at the grandes écoles, the jury’s expectations are on the one hand very broad, since the programme covered is often titanic, and on the other hand very precise. In order to prepare well for the competition, it is therefore recommended to follow a special training course, alongside the high school or even for a whole year. Most students who seriously aim to enter their dream school have made this investment and this choice, and to deprive you of it already puts you behind them. So, if you’re still in high school, consider opting for an online prep school that also offers you intensive internships during the holidays and mock exams to do at home.
Training according to the competition format is essential! Do it as part of a prep course, or do it at home, but always for a limited amount of time, so as not to be surprised by the weather on the day of the competition.
Managing stress, a know-how to be adopted quickly
The closer the deadline approaches, the more tense or panicky you may feel. Possible symptoms may prevent you from peacefully reviewing the entire competition program, or give you stomach, head and back aches. The tension points accumulated in your body will be as many blockages in the effectiveness and efficiency of your work hours. Thus, physical activity and a healthy diet will inevitably be indispensable elements to keep up the endurance of the preparation time. It would be counterproductive to arrive exhausted and with unclear ideas on the day. Also think about food supplements to boost your cognitive abilities.
An essential dimension of your preparation will be breathing. Often neglected, good breathing allows you to evacuate saturated air and physical tensions, to return your whole mind to work. For eventual oral admissions, breathing is more crucial, as it allows you to manage the stress of the face-to-face with the jury and to feel confident. Breathing well can be learned, so don’t hesitate to have a few sessions with a speech specialist.
Allow yourself rest periods
Preparing for competitions at the Grandes Ecoles requires endurance and patience. You will have to be relentless in your revisions, but know how to make time for rest and leisure, to take the pressure off and rest your brain. Make provision for this in your week’s schedule.
But be careful, the most important thing is your competition!