How to beat exam stress!
Most of us love the arrival of Spring and Summer. But for students, whether they’re doing GCSEs, ‘A’ Levels or university exams, the warmer weather can only mean one thing. Exams! Nobody likes them, many people hate them and they are the cause of major stress among young people. And with the ‘testing culture’ ever more entrenched in primary schools too, the pressure is even greater.
So what’s the answer?Unfortunately exams aren’t going away anytime soon but there ARE things that you can do to make life a bit easier for yourself around exam time.
Here are 8 ways to reduce exam stress:
- Plan ahead! You’re never going to cram a couple of years’ worth of notes into your brain the night before the exam – it’s just not possible! The best way to revise is to make yourself a timetable, which sets out when you’re revising each subject and also includes free time, doing stuff that you enjoy. Just like you can’t cram in everything in one night, you also can’t spend every minute of every day working. Balance is the key!
- Remember that you are an individual. Work out the best times, places and ways for YOU to revise your preferences may be completely different from your friend’s – that’s fine as long as it works for YOU!
- Keep your energy levels up by eating well.Olympic athletes can’t perform on a can of Coke and a Curly-Wurly and you will be doing the brain equivalent of running a marathon, which means you need to be on top form!
- Exercise and fresh air really does do you good! A change of scene and a walk round the park or (my personal favourite) a bit of salsa dancing or Zumba really does re-charge your batteries and helps with a healthy dose of perspective. Exams ARE important but you have a life too!
- Yes, you do have time to sleep! In fact it’s essential if you don’t want to find you’re falling asleep in the middle of a quadratic equation or a history essay.
- Talk it through. You may feel that you are alone in feeling stressed about exams but around 700,000 students take their GCSEs every Summer – that represents an awful lot of adrenaline, fear and anxiety. Talking helps – with friends, parents, teachers, school counsellors.
- Watch out for symptoms of stress get to know yourself and your own triggers. Start to watch out for stress-related symptoms in your own body – they may be headaches, tummy aches, breathlessness – everyone is different so you need to learn to know when you’re getting stressed so that you can take some time out and relax.
- Treat yourself because you deserve it! Do nice things, go out, pamper yourself, acknowledge that exams are hard and you are a superstar for working hard and getting on with it.
Lastly, remember that worry is not a productive emotion. You CAN do something to help your performance in exams beforehand, but once you’ve taken them, move on and enjoy your Summer. Worrying won’t affect your results one way or the other! And results (good or bad) don’t define who you are.