There’s a lot of pressure on students to do well, whether it’s during school, university or whilst studying for a professional qualification. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to experience stress around exam time.
Stress can be both a help and a hindrance; you can let it get the better of you, or use it as a drive to improve your work. There are a variety of ways to manage stress so that you minimise its negative impacts, here are a few for you to try out:
Be prepared and plan
Make a revision timetable to help you to plan how to best use your time. This will help reduce stress by breaking down the task into small manageable chunks, making revision seem less overwhelming.
Make sure you have all of your revision notes organised and to hand, this will make it all seem clearer in your head. Find out the exact format of the exam and its marking scheme. Once you know all of the information you’ll feel more confident, and less stressed.
Get some sleep
Never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Even though it might be tempting to stay up and work through the night, it won’t do you any good in the long run. Sleeping helps your brain process information, improving your memory retention. Your stress levels will naturally become a lot lower if you are well rested, and you’ll be able to focus better too.
Eat and drink well
Avoid giving in to the temptation of junk food and energy drinks during exam time. There’s no doubt that you’ll feel a lot better if you avoid lots of processed or sugary foods like biscuits, sweets and chocolate. Vegetables and slow-release carbs, like wholegrain bread and rice, will keep your energy levels steady and help you concentrate throughout the day. Stay hydrated with lots of water, and stick to just a few cups of tea or coffee a day. Avoid energy drinks; these contain a lot of sugar and might leave you feeling jittery, which isn’t likely to help with your stress levels. Try herbal tea or sugar-free soda drinks instead.
Taking a walk or going for a swim will do wonders for your stress levels. Force yourself to do some form of physical exercise, even if you don’t feel like it. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels and release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Plus, taking a break will help you to get your mind off of your exams for a little while, and you’ll feel a lot more capable of taking on your revision with a clear head.
Keep everything in perspective
You might be worrying because you started revising too late, or feel like you didn’t pay enough attention in class – don’t let this stop you. If you made mistakes there’s nothing you can do, and feeling stressed isn’t going to help. Even if you don’t do as well as you expect, exams aren’t the only things that matter. Your experience, work ethic, and ability to get on with other people are all things that will also help you get ahead. Many people that struggled with exams have gone on to do great things.