When it comes to exam preparation and dealing with exam stress students react in different ways. There are those that enjoy exams and see them as opportunity to show what they know, those that don’t mind exams, those who pretend they’re not bothered, those that really don’t care, those that are scared because they realise they haven’t done enough work, or those that are just terrified of exams and in extreme cases make themselves ill worrying about them.
However you feel about exams it makes sense to be well prepared and ensure that you take steps to minimise the amount of stress you might experience. Here are my top tips for dealing with exam stress
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 1: Review notes on a regular basis Keep accurate notes and review them on a regular basis. This will stop you from suddenly having to try and cram lots of work at the last moment.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 2: Start revising early The earlier you start revising the less you will be inclined to panic. In the course of your revision if you find there are things that you don’t understand you will have plenty of time to talk to your lecturers about it.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 3: Plan ahead As soon as your exam timetable becomes available plan a realistic revision timetable for yourself making sure that you’re revising topics in sync with the exams coming up. Trying to advise too many topics at once will add to your stress.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 4: Keep healthy It’s really important that you do everything to remain healthy during your exams. That means being sensible and ensuring that you eat regularly, take regular breaks, get some exercise and don’t try working late into the nights and miss out on sleep. If you don’t take care of yourself you will increase the likelihood of falling ill, disrupting your revision and piling extra stress on yourself.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 5: Keep hydrated You cannot concentrate properly if you don’t keep well hydrated. Don’t try and keep yourself hydrated with drinks full of caffeine. They will only make you feel hyper and make it more difficult for you to focus on your revision.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 6: Pick the right environment You need to revise in an environment where you’re comfortable, warm enough and you can concentrate. Keep your revision area neat and tidy. It’s stressful if you have to search for notes or you're working in a mess.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 7: Practice de-stressing techniques Meditation, yoga, visualisation techniques, breathing exercises, exercise are all activities that you can use to ease your stress.Use whatever works for you.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 8: Avoid negative influences During exam times avoid anyone who adds to your stress particularly friends who are constantly moaning about their own stress or ones that tease you about your stress. You don’t need them!
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 9: Relax Make sure that you don’t try and revise every minute of the day. When you’re scheduling your revision timetable, plan in some specific relaxation time when you’re going to have some fun and meet up with friends and families. It’s really important that your brain gets a chance to rest.
Dealing with exam stress – Tip 10: Be kind to yourself Don’t waste time with negative self talk for worrying about exams. It’s normal. However, if you find that the stress of exams is really affecting your health and wellbeing – talk to someone (tutor or college counsellor ...).
Summary Being prepared , adopting a sensible approach to your revision timetable and taking actions to minimise your stress will ensure that you give yourself the best chance to perform well in your exams. Feeling some kind of stress is normal when you consider what is at stake, but it’s important that you don’t let it get out of control. If you need to talk to someone or ask for some help don’t feel ashamed to do so.
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