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Most of us experience some level of anxiety and stress during examinations. To an extent, the stress is normal and keeps the fire of excellence burning in the belly. However, factors such as under-preparedness, competitive pressure, and even parental expectations, can create excessive examination stress. If stress creates a mental block, affects your health, or causes you to underperform, it is certainly time for a change in approach.
Here are 10 simple tips to help tide you over the examination stress:
1. Prepare well
The most common cause of examination stress is being unprepared or underprepared. Leaving exam preparations for the last few days, can stress out even the brainiest of students. Prepare all the subjects in advance, so that all you need to do just before the exams is to review your notes. Here are some great study tips:
- During your first round of study, highlight important points and make brief notes. These would be super handy for a quick final revision.
- When revising, it is always better to vary subjects in terms of difficulty to avoid getting bored or feeling dejected
- Take sample tests, this will simulate the exam experience, and help tame the final examination day anxiety.
- Enlist the help of a study-buddy in subjects you are weak
- Enroll for tutorial classes a few months prior to the exam
2. Take time out to relax
Continuous study will slow you down as you lose concentration and your eyes tire. Take a short break every hour, getting up from the table to maybe have a sip of water, step out onto the balcony for some fresh air, or even have a quick chat with your family members. Also, divide your study time into various slots in a day, with few hours of continuous study followed by extended breaks. Listen to music, take your dog for a long walk, take a nap, or indulge in any other activity that you find rejuvenating, and then get back to studying having recharged your mental batteries!
3. Take adequate sleep
It is important to maintain proper sleep patterns to avoid examination stress. Sleeplessness only adds to the stress, and can take a toll on your performance. If you are thinking, ‘That’s easier said than done’, here are a few tips to overcome the exam insomnia:
- Stick as much as possible to your regular timings of going to bed and waking up
- Maximise your productivity during the awake hours so you can sleep on time
- Drink a glass of warm milk before you go to bed
- Do not watch television at before going to bed
- Maybe listening to some relaxing music will help
4. Have a healthy diet
Eat a balanced diet, take your meals on time, and keep yourself adequately hydrated. Fresh fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas, which contain fresh, natural, and slow releasing glucose sugars, will keep your energy levels going. Incorporate some memory and concentration enhancing foods in your diet such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, cucumber, sunflower seeds, and watermelon. Gulping excessive cups of tea and coffee can cause acidity, over-stimulation, and can actually slow you down.
5. Get some exercise
There is no better stress buster than regular exercise. No matter how busy you are with your exam preparations, take time out for a workout. Exercise relaxes muscles and releases natural stress busting chemicals. Stretching and controlled breathing can loosen tense muscles and helps you remain focussed and relaxed.
6. Avoid distractions
Watching television, listening to loud music, and playing video games can be very tempting during stressful exam days, but these distractions can cause you to lose focus, and create unnecessary anxiety. Find a distraction-free location to study (perhaps the college library), and switch-off your smartphone and laptop unless you need them for study.
7. Be realistic
Setting unrealistic goals and expecting too much from oneself can lead to unnecessary stress. Plan your study material revisions in a way that you read only as much as you efficiently can. Remember everyone is different, so if your friend has already completely his or her preparations, do not force yourself into spending extra hours and exerting yourself.
8. Speak to a mentor
Speaking to someone with a positive attitude can motivate you and raise your spirits. When you are feeling low and stressed out, speak to a member of your family or a mentor who inspires you. It will boost your mood, and help you get on with the exam preparations with a renewed zeal.
9. Think positive
Stress often stems from self-inflicted feelings of negativity. Avoid thoughts such as ‘my friend is so well-prepared and I am still far behind’. Remember that the results you seek will be a direct reflection of your own efforts, so stay mentally- focused. Talk to people who are positive and can motivate you.
10. Communicate with your parents
Parents are the biggest influence in your life, but unfortunately, their unrealistic expectations can be the biggest reason for your examination stress. Instead of losing your temper or dismissing them, discuss your exam preparations with them and be honest about your own expectations. Let them know that you are indeed doing everything possible. Their support will be great for your positive frame of mind.
So, prepare well, eat well, think positive and just work hard, and success shall come your way.
All the best!