6-step stress handling during exams

If you are a student, you are probably looking forward for the summer to come, or for the next few weeks to pass as quickly as possible, just because it would mean exams will be over. Only then will it be time to relax! Right now exams however are constantly on your mind and most probably cramming sessions and sleepless nights are the order of the day.

Exam stress can be a tough cookie. We all need a little stress to get us going and focusing on what we need to do. However several deadlines, too many exams, and other factors in our lives, often lead to stress levels where instead of giving us that extra push we need, they disturb us to the extent that we feel anxious, afraid and tired. This is not uncommon among students. But fret not:- have you ever wondered whether there is something you can do to manage exam stress?

As a student, you might feel you have no life apart from exams at this time of year, and yet it is your lifestyle that is one important factor in managing this stressful time of year.

1. Get enough sleep. Adequate nutrition and rest, exercise and breaks are essential to restore the body and keep your energy levels constant and your mind focused.

2. Focus on what you can control. Another asset is the way you think – and it can become your biggest enemy if you choose to focus on what you cannot control, or negative and irrational thinking. Instead, be aware of what you are in control of, be positive, believe in yourself and keep things in perspective. Challenge the irrational thoughts, beliefs and demands you make on yourself. If you do not get the best marks in all your exams, it does not mean you are worthless.

3. Make a good study plan. Needless to say, you also need to study! Make a good study plan, revising and updating it as you go along. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find what works for you and what helps you best. Summarise, make revision notes and use diagrams and colours if they work for you.

4. Avoid memorising chunks of information without understanding them. If you encounter problems while studying try to look for help to overcome them and get back on track with your work. Practice on sample questions and sample papers if possible, it will help you get into exam mode. Leave some time for revision and do not forget to include short breaks in your schedule.

5. On the exam day, don’t panic! Close your eyes, take long deep breaths and give yourself a pep-talk. If you blank, move to another question and get back to the problem later on. Make sure to read well what is expected of you, plan your time and prioritise according to how important the questions are. Pace yourself, and when it is over, avoid criticising yourself and make sure you reward yourself for the hard work.

6. Prepare yourself well, keep healthy and maintain a positive attitude. Try to stay clear from what upsets your focus, calmness and confidence. Exams will be over sooner than you know it, and if you take a few moments to prepare for the process now, it need not be an arduous time that depletes your energies completely.

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