"The idea of exams is not very well sought upon between students. Normally, students undergo with stress, anxiety and endless cram-filled nights during examinations. However, it doesn’t have to be that way."
The Rubik's Cube is often regarded as an "intellectual" toy, being associated with problem-solving and concentration. The Rubik's cube certainly does have multiple benefits and it compliments various other parts of life.
Here’s how I compared the similarities between exams and speedcubing and how experiencing one directly helped with the other -
1. Setting goals
With competitions happening from time to time, cubers are always on the lookout to beat their previous bests. Competitions help test your ability in real life, showcase skills, analyze and evaluate outcomes and test your ideas. Similar to exams, you have to prepare yourself to answer questions which indirectly test your ability, skills, thought process and learnings. Cubers cater their practice according to the goals they’ve set, and this helps guide them throughout their practice and give them a direction to go into. Setting goals for competitions and achieving them has resulted in a direct motivation for my exams.
I applied this to my exam preparation as well, setting goals at the beginning of the year/term for that x grade, so each assignment and each study session was focused, keeping that goal in mind. It also helped be motivated with my end goals.
Cubers constantly have to learn new algorithms and techniques to stay on top of their game, and that has helped me figure out my own learning style. I’ve been able to identify patterns by applying how I learn algorithms and techniques into real life, and this has significantly helped me improve my study. Also, similar to choosing a main 3x3 cube, I understood that what works for others may not be for me. Not only have my grades improved, studying no longer feels like a chore!
3. Practice, practise, practise!
Speedcubing is all about practice. From drilling multiple algorithms a day to competition simulation, cubers know that simply learning is not going to do the trick. As concepts got more and more complex, I realized that similar to cubing, just learning is not going to do the trick. I learned that I must practice what I’ve learnt in school as well, and solving questions, sample papers and mock tests were the way forward.
4. The final day
Competing is quite a big part of any speedcuber’s life. All that practice comes down to that one final competition, and nobody likes messing it up. Cubers tend to have their own practice routines before competitions that help them get ready for the big day. We don’t learn algorithms the night before, make sure to rest up, eat something we like, and generally be in a jolly mood.
Exams too need a similar routine that one is familiar with, contrary to what generally happens. Competing every month or so has definitely taught me the importance of a routine, to help make sure that I can handle those competition - or in this case exam - nerves.
5. Bonus - Stress Buster!
Cubers often turn to their cube in times of stress, and casually doing a few cube solves or a small session when I’m stressed really helped me calm down in times when I felt overwhelmed. Simply doing a few solves on exam day before going to school also served as a reminder that everything was alright, and how I could ace this test!
Speedcubing helps develop real-life skills that have helped me in various aspects of my life. While these can be applied to anything, applying them to my exams helped me achieve the grade I had set out for. Speedcubing is not just about solving a twisty puzzle again and again, it’s a journey. And one I recommend everyone to give a shot.