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Some tips on dealing with Exam Stress

Some tips on dealing with Exam Stress

Work out what you are worried about. Is it a particular subject that you find difficult? Do you need to get more information about a subject? Have you made a study plan which is realistic? There may be some things you can’t change. For instance, you can’t change the date of the exam, but you can change how you prepare for that exam, or you can talk to someone about how you are feeling about it.

Try to see this part of your life as only being for a set time. Exams don’t go on for ever and you are not going to spend all your life sitting exams. It’s just for this period that you need to do exams; they will soon be over. For example, if your exams are in 30 days, then that’s your 30-day challenge. By doing this, you can see you have an end point and exams will be over. Plan something nice for the day after your last exam.

Work out the basics; which exams you have and how much you have to learn for each one. Don’t expect to learn everything, but if you expect marks for certain pieces of information, or for a particular style of writing then prioritise these areas.

Break revision into small chunks and form a plan. Once you have a plan you won’t have any worries about what to work on.

Make sure you build in plenty of free time into your plan. You can’t study all day - take some time out to unwind and relax.

Don’t panic if you go slightly off your plan a bit; tomorrow is another day.

Take frequent breaks during your study time. A lot of people who know about such things say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. When you’re on a break, do something completely different; move away from the desk and books, walk about, go out into fresh air, dance about.

Eat well. Try and eat things like bread, rice, pasta, fruit and veg. These foods release their energy slowly, so you avoid getting low in energy. Drink lots of water. People often forget that not having enough water (being dehydrated), can affect our energy and ability to concentrate.

Think about when and where you work best. If you work best in the mornings, then plan most of your studying for the mornings. If you work better in a library, with little noise, then plan to go to your library to revise.

Keep active. Even a short walk will help to de-stress you. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up a bit.

Sleep! Try to get about 8 hours sleep a night.

Find activities that help you relax - maybe it’s a hot bath, watching a TV programme, or listening to music. Note it down and build it into your study plan.

If possible, speak to parents and family and ask them what they are expecting of you; be honest and tell them what you think you are capable of. Try telling them that too much pressure from them will not help you at this time. Let them know if you are really worried about your exams; sometimes they might be able to help. Just talking about your worries can be of huge help.

It is also important NOT TO:

• Set yourself ridiculous goals. Nobody can revise 10 topics in a day. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.

• Cut out all enjoyment from life. It might be tempting to think “I’ll not see anyone or do anything fun until I get through these exams”, but this is not helping you. After all, you need time away from studying and we all need a bit of fun.

• Drink too many things like coffee, alcohol or energy drinks. These all contain caffeine, and whilst that might give you an energy boost, too much caffeine can start to make you feel stressed out all over again and can play havoc with your sleep.

• Compare yourself to your friends. You are unique and only you can study in the way which suits you. Trying to do what your friends do will only make you more stressed as you aren’t doing what is right for you.

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