Chill Out – Coping with Exam Stress without Losing Your Focus
A student’s life is not easy, and things even become extra difficult when it is exam week. A large percentage of the final grade is usually based on the result of these exams, making students feel even more pressure than necessary.
Of course, all students react differently to pressure associated with exams. Difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, lack of energy or lethargy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability are just a few common manifestations of students who are under extreme pressure.
If exams are just a few weeks away for you and you feel that you are getting stressed out, below are powerful suggestions to cope:
When you have exam anxiety, sometimes you can make yourself feel better by imagining the exam will be postponed. Maybe the instructors will change their mind and will allow a few more weeks to give the exam. Or maybe school day will be cancelled on the day of the exams. Or maybe for some reason you will be exempted from taking the exams. These are all nice thoughts, but if you keep yourself in the stage of denial and daydreaming, you will become stuck. When you accept that the exams are indeed taking place on schedule, then you can move on and set your mind to the task.
Since there is a lot riding on the exams, you might be prone to negative thinking such as not getting a good enough grade or even worse failing. Getting rid of negative thoughts, of course, does not happen overnight, but a good start to combat this negativity is to fill your mind with positive thoughts instead. Visualize yourself that you are getting a high mark for the exam—maybe even the highest mark in your class. Believe in yourself, and soon enough, you can easily set aside that negative thinking.
Develop a good study plan.
Getting an excellent grade, of course, involves more than acceptance of the fate that awaits you and positive thinking. You actually have to work hard for it. Now, keep in mind that studying hard does not mean you have to be at the library the whole time! Burying yourself in the books too much is not going to help you in your cause either. Instead, create a timetable that allows you quality study time with ample breaks in between, such as scheduling a study time for two hours after school but with a 15- minute break for snacks and another 15-minute for TV or internet surfing.
Stick to your routine
To stay in line with your study plan, be prepared to sacrifice some things here and there. However, this should not mean you should completely break your routine, especially if it is an activity that helps you unload the stress you are feeling. For instance, if you go to yoga every Friday after school, then continue doing so. Yoga can actually relieve stress and make you feel relaxed. The thing to remember is that stress relief comes in different forms for different people. Knowing the things in your routine that can actually help you is key.
Remember to guard your health
Some students tend to pull off an all-nighter for studying, thinking this can actually help them get better grades. However, putting your health and well-being at risk is a definite no-no even when you are chasing A+ marks. As such, get yourself enough hours of sleep especially on the night before the exam, and eat healthy. Junk food and drinks like chocolates, coffee, chips, and others can energize you for a short period, but you really need nutritious food like fruits and nuts to keep you focused on your goal and keep you going until the long haul.
If you feel the exam anxiety is getting the better of you, then it might be ideal to seek out people you trust whom you can share your feelings with—whether it is your childhood friends, your siblings, your parents, or your fellow classmates. Who knows, your classmates might be undergoing the same thing and you might even do better with studying for the exams if you form a study group. This way, you can learn from each other and give each other practice exams.
Still anxious about your upcoming exams? Follow the suggestions above, and you will be knocking out that anxiety… maybe even for good!