Have you been preparing to take the NYC court office trainee or sanitation exam this year? Worried about the pandemic adversely affecting your prospects? We understand your concerns and fears.
As an organization that helps Civil Service test aspirants every year, we can guide you through the thick and thin of how to navigate this scenario. If you’re wondering how you can prep for the exam without flunking it, here’s a quick overview.
What Becomes of the Exam During the Pandemic?
As of a notice posted on the 7th of May, the NYC Public Service Commission is now working remotely. Applicants and test aspirants cannot avail in-person communication with an official these days, even if they wanted to. And if you have submitted any items, the process might be delayed.
However, their online portal is still functioning and is open for appeals. A quick look at their exam schedule for the months of March, April, May, and early June shows that most were canceled or postponed.
The exams scheduled for the rest of the month, however, are still tagged as qualified incumbent or open competitive exams. No announcements for July have been made yet. Given how much of the country is re-opening and the fact that the lockdowns are receding, however, we can assume that many of the exams will be conducted as per schedule. And even if they aren’t, you should prepare for them as if you were giving them when things were normal.
We’re guessing that you plan to take the exam in the next cycle or are going through quick revision prep for those scheduled this year. Whatever the case, it’s natural to be worried about preparing during such times.
Beat the Stress
The 2020 student is working in a markedly different study environment compared to those who took Civil Service exams before them. You’re caught up in the middle of a global pandemic, and the United States is among the worst-affected countries. And if that wasn’t enough, New York, in particular, has suffered the most casualties and cases.
Knowing that the virus has killed 117,858 fellow Americans and that it has affected 2,162,228 others is alarming. It’s enough to distress the best of us.
But there are bigger fish to fry. It isn’t just the virus you’re fighting—it’s also the stress the virus carries with it. Germaphobia and emetophobia—fear of germs and sickness, respectively—can catch up with people at a time like this.
If you find yourself scared to death of touching surfaces—even in your home—if you feel sick just at the sight of seeing someone coughing, you might be catching on. While it’s good to be diligent in a time like this, you don’t want the pandemic paranoia to take over.
When you’re stressed out and scared—as most people are these days—you’ll have a tougher time preparing for the incumbent exam. You won’t be able to focus or concentrate on the preparation material. In fact, experts have diagnosed a psychiatric disorder that arises due to a fear of the novel coronavirus.
Here’s what happens when you’re stressed out:
- Your blood pressure rises
- Jagged breathing
- Quicker heartbeat
- Inability to multitask or register things
- Cortisol—a stress hormone—is released in excess, leading to chronic fatigue
- High cortisol levels also affect the brain, slow its functioning, and even kill brain cells
There’s something called the “shutting down of the body,” which happens as a result of stress, and it isn’t a joke. After all, the one thing you need in order to prepare for your exams is your brain, and if stress is killing your brain cells, that’s majorly concerning?
Keeping Yourself Healthy
In addition to safeguarding your mental health, you also need to look after your physical health. The mind is invariably connected to the body, and if you’re fatigued or physically enervated, you won’t be able to focus on studying either.
Moreover, since a healthy immune system is the only thing (in addition to physical distancing) that helps people fight the virus, you need to pay attention to the physical aspect of it as well.
Here’s what you can do to keep your body fit during the pandemic:
- Keep yourself hydrated. It’s summertime, so this one’s crucial. Dehydration causes fatigue faster than you’d expect. Drinking loads of water will flush out any toxins in the body. Between 8 and 10 glasses a day is optimal, and you can also switch to juices and smoothies during study hours.
- Improve your diet. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, as well as eggs and milk. Do some research on foods that are rich in zinc and Vitamins C and E. Of course, supplements are also available, but it’s best to go natural, in order to avoid any adverse effects. Nuts and yogurt are also great additions to any diet since they contain good fatty acids and probiotics.
- Sleep is important. While staying up all night and devouring your books and prep material is a good thing, we wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re a vampire.
- Unlike vampires, humans need at least 6 hours of sleep a day to function properly. Sleep deprivation does more than make you look like the bride of Frankenstein. It also makes you lose focus, less sharp, lethargic, and unfit in general.
- Exercise. No physical health regimen is ever complete without a generous side of exercise. Take out 30 to 45 minutes every day to work out. We wouldn’t recommend continuing to go to the gym these days (the virus reportedly spreads faster inside gyms). Try taking a solitary walk early in the morning, or, if you have a treadmill at home, we’d recommend using it. You could also try yoga or meditation or any light exercise. Many YouTube videos explain how you can go about this—so you won’t have to get out of the house at all.
Practice and Prep Rigorously
Don’t think that the pandemic is a good reason to give up on hitting the books. Once you stray away from your reading material and take a break from your books, you’ll develop a slack and fall back. You might even have to start anew when you decide it’s time to start again. It’s a waste of time and energy and is also destructive to your cause.
However, we understand that many of you can’t prep for an exam like the CSS on your own. Since you can’t go out for prep or peer supervision, you can try some of the resources available online, such as those present on Civil Service Success.