7 Tips For Handling Stress During Exam Time
The time has come. All the work, the sacrifices, the homework now comes down to this. The final exams. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much work you’ve completed to get to here because your exam makes up a large percentage of your final grade.
It’s these facts that can make this period of time very stressful. Sometimes not only for those about to take the exams but the parents who are watching on. Knowing how to cope with this type of pressure can be difficult, especially if you’ve never gone through anything like this before.
Thankfully, there are techniques you can use to handle the stress better. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressure that comes from exams, try these methods to help get it under control.
1. Breathing Exercises
Focussing on your breathing is one way to relieve your body’s response to stress and avert your attention back to the task at hand. It can also help you think rationally about anything making you anxious, rethink any negative patterns, and provide you with a sense of calm to tackle the exams you’re about to take.
If you don’t know any breathing techniques, there are plenty of apps and videos available online that can help you walk through a meditation. You don’t need to worry about losing precious study time either, as many of them last mere minutes so that you can get back to focussing on your exam.
2. Eat, Sleep, Exercise, Repeat
Sitting in front of a computer all night studying while living on a diet of junk food and coffee to keep you awake is not going to do you any favours. In fact, it can make you even more anxious.
In order to get the best out of your body, you need to eat slow-release carbs, drink plenty of water, get eight hours of sleep, and a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise a day. This doesn’t need to be a complete, hardcore gym workout. It could just be a walk around the block so that you can get some fresh air.
3. Set Goals
The earlier you plan ahead, the better it will be for your mental health. Set yourself some realistic goals and time block your day so that you know what you’re in for. Start with smaller goals as you don’t want to overcommit and add to your anxiety.
You should avoid trying rollover goals you don’t achieve either. If you continue to build and build on top of tasks that you didn’t complete, then this will only add to your stress. If you don’t achieve a goal one day, then you’re thinking too big. Downsize it, so that’s it more achievable and keeps you moving forward. It might take you longer to where you need to be, but you won’t feel as stressed, and you’ll end up absorbing more during your studies.
4. Pair Up
Research has shown that revising notes with others can be an effective form of studying. It can help you better absorb your records and also understand the subject matter as you share your thinking with others around you.
There’s also the saying that a problem shared is a problem halved. The peers you study with can empathise with what you’re going through. They know the emotional support that you need in order to get through the exam period in the right state of mind.
5. Pace Yourself
Your stress is likely to reach its peak when you’re sitting at the desk with the paper in front of you. You might forget everything that you studied or have all of the facts and figures in your mind that you’ll work as fast as you can to get through the test so that you don’t forget it.
However, panicking like this can only amplify your stress. A common trick to calm yourself is to take six quick breaths, hydrate yourself, and collect yourself so that you can focus on the exam. Read through everything before you begin. Then plan out your time and stick to it in order to achieve the results you need
6. Trust In Yourself
It is human nature to question if we could have done more or if we have prepared enough for an exam. This type of thinking will feed your insecurities and build your stress to the point that it will end up being all that you think about during your exam.
One technique to try instead is to turn your attention to when you first began studying. Try to recall how much knowledge you had on the subject of the exam before you started. Then turn your attention to how much you know about the subject. You might not know everything there is about the topic in the exam, but you should know enough to complete it. Knowing this should provide with the calmness that you need to tackle the test.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Talk To Someone
Once you’ve recognised that you are stressed, you should ask yourself if you feel equipped to overcome it. Not everyone is able to handle the pressure that comes with taking exams, and it can have detrimental effects on your health. When you take notice of this, it would be a good time to reach out to a professional who can assist you.
Speaking to an expert in this field is nothing to be ashamed of. But if you are uncomfortable, then there are other alternatives. You should let your friends, family, or even your teacher know that you’re struggling with the pressure. Many of them have likely found themselves in a similar situation. They might be able to provide some advice and support to help you manage the stress that you’re feeling.