As exam season approaches, most students experience heightened anxiety. Compounded by lack of sleep and pressure to perform, exam stress can be your worst enemy and prevents you from performing at your peak. While it’s a fact that your grades will be better if you are calm during exams, this often easier said than done. If you suffer from exam stress, then here are some practical ways you can regain control.
It’s All In The Planning
Part of the reason you feel nervous when taking exams is because you don’t feel prepared. If you plan ahead and ensure that you have enough time to study for your exam, this won’t be a problem. Start early and give yourself tons of time to study. If you feel confident in your knowledge and abilities, you will be able to perform at your peak.
Ask your teacher for previous exams so that you can practice. This means you can also get accustomed to the way in which your teacher asks questions. Ask your tutor to help with your exam preparation. Your tutor can identify gaps in your knowledge, help you to create a study schedule and go through old exam papers with you.
Get Enough Sleep
Don’t stay up late cramming; lack of sleep will lead to poor academic performance. Getting your eight hours is the best way to ensure that you are able to use your higher cognitive functions when you are writing your exam. A good night’s sleep will mean you are able to remember more, concentrate longer and problem solve with ease. If you are having trouble sleeping, try exercise and drink lots of water. Avoid stimulants like coffee and sports drinks, and eat a healthy diet.
On the Day
Don’t leave home late – ensure that there is no pre-exam rushing around. This only adds stress that you don’t need. Leave home with tons of time to spare. If you arrive early, walk around and breathe deeply. You can say hi to your friends, but avoid talking about the exam.
When you get your exam paper, read all of the questions and don’t worry if there are some you aren’t sure of. Decide how much time you are going to spend on each question so that you don’t run out. Now start with the easiest questions first. This will help to build your confidence and get your brain working.
After the exam is over, try to forget about it. Don’t go over the answers with your friends and get worried about what you did or didn’t write. Instead, go home and relax. The exam period is a long one and you don’t want to stress yourself out about exams you have already written; focus instead on the exams that you still have to write.
Relax, You’ve Got This!
Your greatest enemy is often yourself. If you start thinking negatively or start to worry that you don’t have enough time, are going to fail or wish you had started earlier… Stop! I know it sounds easier than it actually is, but negative thinking will have a damaging effect on your exam results. If your brain gets on the hamster wheel of doubt and negative thoughts start going round in your head, get up and go do something fun. Take a walk, visit a friend or go for a run. Moving around and distracting yourself will help you to stop being a worry wart. Now replace that negative thought with a positive one. Every time you catch yourself thinking: “I’m not going to make it”, replace that with something positive. After all, you got this!