How to reduce exam stress
This time of year is important for students taking exams. Stress can prevent you from performing at your best and achieving the grades that you deserve. Below are some steps you can follow to help you to keep cool, calm and in control. You may already have some of them in place or have other strategies which you find helpful. Please feel free to share.
- Make out a revision plan showing what topics you need to revise and when you will do this.
- Include some fun activities in your plan, when you can relax and spend time with others.
- Don't work for too long at one time. If are finding it difficult to concentrate, take a break.
- Leave some relaxation time between working and going to bed.
- Challenge yourself by completing questions/problems and not just reading and making notes.
- Pay close attention to mark schemes.
- Form a small revision group to discuss ideas and support each other.
- Turn off social media site so you are not distracted.
- Play background music if it helps but don't continually select. Stick to a playlist.
- Make sure you are comfortable and not disturbed. Take frequent short breaks.
- Make time to exercise and enjoy some fresh air.
- Talk to someone you can trust if you feel that you are not coping.
Look after yourself
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Prioritise, you may not be able to fit in all your regular social activities. You can party after the exams.
- Eat a good diet and keep hydrated.
- Take care with energy drinks. Sugar and caffeine hits will not help you to study effectively
- Treat yourself. Rewards are always welcome and a good motivator.
Before the exam
- Don't stay up too late and succumb to last minute revision.
- Make a list and prepare what you will need for the day of the exam to avoid a last minute panic.
- Eat protein and fruit beforehand rather than sugary snacks and keep hydrated with water.
- Practice some deep breathing exercises to help you stay calm or imagine yourself doing something you enjoy or feel positive about.
- Give yourself enough time so that you arrive early.
During the exam
· Read the exam paper and decide which questions you might answer, if you have a choice.
· Answer questions that you feel confident about first. Stay with feeling positive.
· Keep your eye on the clock and make sure you don’t run out of time.
· Divide the time up between the questions. Limit the time you spend on each one.
· Leave time for checking at the end and only change answers if you are absolutely sure.
Try not to go over the questions and worry about your responses. Give yourself a treat and concentrate on the next exam, if you have one. Nothing can be gained from speculating on your results.
Remember that exam results are only part of your route to success. There are many other factors that contribute to future careers and possible options. Not performing well in an exam does not mean that your future will be less successful. It is important to keep things in perspective and to realise that worrying can act as a barrier to performing at your best. Good luck to all students, keep positive and take good care of yourself.