Exam stress is a real thing which needs to be addressed. Whether you’re a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ student, exams stress everyone out equally. There’s no need to drive yourself crazy! Grades are important, but they won’t matter as much as you think. Several students worldwide suffer from anxiety during exams. Here are 10 ways how you can manage your stress:
1. Make A Time Table
Setting up a plan is the key to avoiding last minute panic. Start in advance so that you have enough time to cover up your entire syllabus with time to spare. Revising one or two topics each day will help you prepare better and keep you calm.
2. Keep Distractions At Bay
It may sound cliché, but staying away from social media or TV shows can really help. Asking your friends what they’ve studied is only going to stress you more. So turn off your phone, take a break from TV, and for a few hours just focus on studying. All those things will still be there once your exams end.
Controlled breathing is the best way to calm a racing mind. Just when you think the pressure is taking over you, stop and start breathing slowly. This simple exercise will help you slow down your heart rate – breathe in through your nose for four seconds, and hold for another four, and finally breathe out through the mouth for eight seconds. Repeat as many times as needed.
4. Eat Healthy
One thing which generally exacerbates a students stress during exams is their eating routine. Research on multiple occasions has shown students who eat breakfast perform better in their exams. Have a protein-rich diet with plenty of milk, eggs, and yoghurt to stay full for longer. Also, remember to drink plenty of water! It will keep you feeling awake and fresh.
5. Remember To Exercise And Sleep Well
Exercising can be the perfect stress reliever. If your body feels good, your mind will too. Exercise boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, aka the happy chemicals that lift up your mood. Just a quick 20-minute session can improve your mental state. Pulling all-nighters also increase the symptoms of anxiety. Avoid them as much as you can! If you absolutely must, then take frequent mini naps.
6. Avoid Caffeine
You may think caffeine is unavoidable during exam season, but it’s not. Caffeine has many negative effects including mood swings, and poor sleep — things which will never result in productivity. Replace caffeine with decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, and water which will keep you healthy and your mind fresh. Pro tip: apples are better at keeping you awake than coffee!
7. Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals is an essential part of studying, but setting realistic goals is even more important. Instead of pressurising yourself by attempting to revise five topics a day, account for your mental stamina and study accordingly.
8. Opt For Group Study
Group study can actually help you if you do it seriously. It not only helps you learn better, but the emotional support you get from others tends to inspire a sense of confidence in yourself. This also encourages oral learning as you explain topics to others, or have them explain topics to you — which is better for memorisation.
9. Music Is Food For The Soul
Music helps us get through some of life’s most difficult moments, and finals week is not an exception to this rule. Listening to music helps establish a studying rhythm and heightens focus for most students. Headphones also block out distractions and keep unwanted conversations from seeping into your studying mindset. In addition to all of this, listening to music helps relieve stress and anxiety and lowers blood pressure. So if you aren’t already, keep the music flowing while you study to help you survive finals.
10. Stay Positive
Lastly, take it easy! With a positive attitude, you can achieve anything and everything. Try to do your best, and hope for the best. Even if the results are not what you expected, remember, you can always try again. It isn’t the end of the world!
If you’re unable to cope with exam pressure – don’t shy away from talking about it with your family, or calling up an understanding friend. Their motivation can help you and make you feel more confident.