5 Tips To Help You Tackle Exam Stress
Exams season is a time when our anxiety spikes and pressure builds up. Not only we are pressured by our school, professors, and parents to do well but we also pressure ourselves to do better. And in doing that – pushing ourselves over the edge – we spike up our anxiety and stress.
Stress thrives on our pressure and while some small – a teeny tiny amount – of pressure can be helpful and even keep us motivated during exams, too much of it, however, can make our mental health go downhill.
This added stress of exams along with the current stress of the pandemic can become too much and can cause you to feel anxious beyond control. Functioning on coffee, nerves, and long sleepless nights is somewhat normal and even expected but stress and anxiety over exams can wreck your mental and physical health.
There are two types of anxiety that are related to the stress related to exams:
1. Rational Anxiety: When a student doesn’t study using the correct study habits and tips.
2. Irrational Anxiety: When a student does study correctly but because of nerves, fails to perform as they expected.
The cause of the anxiety can be negative feedback, where a student is said to receive negative information about their subject or if their peers or teachers make them anticipate that will get a bad grade. The other reason for this could be a negative self-perception. When a student holds a certain belief about their personality, they can develop a negative attitude that may cause them to become anxious right before and/or during exam time.
How Does Exam Stress Feel Like?
Exam stress symptoms can be:
- Losing touch with friends
- Feeling overwhelmed or underwhelmed
- The trouble with making decisions
- Changes in appetite, either eating too much or eating too little
- Changes in sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep
- Difficulty in types of anxiety
- Joint or muscle aches and headaches
- Sweaty palms or trembling hands
- Feeling butterflies in your stomach
- Heart palpitations or getting sick
- Constant fidgeting
- Feeling your mind going blank during the paper
How To Tackle Exam Stress?
By following these tips, you can stay on top of your stress and tackle the stress of exam easily:
1. Find Your Balance
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re studying for your exams is to time everything out in a perfect balance. Taking breaks in between studying to something you love can really help you keep your stress at a bay. Maintaining a balance between studying and taking a break can be good for your mental and emotional health or else everything will become too overwhelming to control. Give your brain some time in between studying to absorb whatever you’ve read so far.
2. Study In A Group
When I used to prepare for my exams, I preferred to study in a group. This way I was able to understand my subject from different perspectives and it helped! Form a study group with your friends and while sometimes studying in a group can be distracting, it can have its own pros too. Like-minded people in a group can help you stay on track and not let your mind wander. Group studies promote motivation and make studying less stressful and more fun.
3. Stay Organized
Keeping a schedule or an organized planner can help you manage your stress. Making a timetable or a plan on what to study and what to revise can help you stay on track. When your timetable is cluttered with too many things, you can feel overwhelmed. Create a schedule to tackle your subjects in an organized way. It can also help you keep in touch with what you’ve done and what you still need to do.
4. Allow Some “Me Time”
What’s that saying? “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Like I said before, keeping a balance between studying and taking a break is important. Take some time to be by yourself. “Me time” is as important as staying connected with others. For every hour of studying, take 15 minutes to relax on your own. You can try, at this time, some deep breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques to keep your mind calm and clear.
5. Talk About It
If you feel your stress getting to you, then take some time off your studies and talk to either your parents, siblings, friends, or mentors at school/college. Keeping open and honest communication with others can help you express your feelings and worries and brainstorm solutions to help you tackle your exam stress.
Additional Tips To Help You…
Here are some additional tips to help you tackle exam pressure:
- Remember your strengths and weaknesses
- Keep in mind that your exam results don’t define who you
- Be kind to yourself and don’t forget to take care of yourself from time to time
- Set realistic goals
- Break your tasks down into smaller tasks
- Don’t compare yourself and your study methods with those of your friends
- Don’t be discouraged if your results are not what you expected
But most importantly,
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to be confident in your abilities. If you stay confident and write your exams with a fun and positive attitude, you’ll never be disappointed in the outcome – whatever it may be.
Remember to take deep breaths and relax. Your exams don’t define your future and who you’ll be in the future.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same amount of hours per day that were given to… Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Di Vinci… and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.