Increased heart rate, loss of appetite, overeating, disrupted sleep patterns and stomach cramps – those are the symptoms of pre-exam stress every student deals with during the examination session. Just like any other kind of stress, exam stress derives from feeling out of control, causing emotions like panic, anger, irritation and anxiety. Fortunately, this nasty combination of mental and physical symptoms can be fought against. Here are top 10 tips on how to cope with exam stress and make sure that you pass your test with flying colors.
1. Careful planning
Once you create a through plan for your studies, you will instantly feel more confident about the results of your exam. Cramming all your textbooks and notes the night before is never a good idea – no brain can be expected to absorb that much information in one night.
Opting for studying early, you’ll instantly be in a more advantageous situation. Planning ahead will allow you to allocate exactly as much time as you need for studying particular sections of the material.
2. Good organization
Make sure to carefully track your progress – review your day every morning to know what you need accomplish. Break down overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable sections that you’ll slowly lead into completion.
Always vary your timetable – maintain the general structure, but mix it up so your studying period won’t get boring. The night before the exam, prepare all the things you’ll need, such as your watch, pen, pencil, ID card – last minute searching will only make you stressed and panicked.
3. Know yourself and your abilities
The awareness of your skills and qualities is of paramount importance to fight stress. Knowing how much time you’ll need to complete certain tasks and memorize chunks of information is invaluable to build your confidence in planning your activities. This is in itself an excellent strategy to fight exam stress – boosting your self-confidence and helping you feel perfectly prepared for what’s coming.
4. Take breaks
Studying for many hours in one sitting might seem a good idea – especially when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands – but ultimately, it will make you less productive and might negatively affect your knowledge retention capacity.
Plan your studying session by intervals, giving yourself time for breaks. For every 50 minutes of focused study, take a 10 minute break – have a drink, go out and have a walk or have a healthy snack. Avoid watching TV or checking social media – they will do nothing, but disrupt your studying rhythm.
5. Keep a healthy diet
Another important point to help you keep your focus and fight stress is a regular and healthy diet. Establish an eating routine and maintain it, your body will be thankful for it – keeping your sugar levels steady will only improve your mental and physical balance.
Maximize your brain power by eating healthy snacks like walnuts and dished that based fish – all kinds are full of omega-3 acids. Avoid processed, fatty foods – all your favorite sugary snacks are on the black list. Go for wholegrain bread and lean proteins – they release energy slowly, helping you to keep your body in balance.
6. Drink well
Staying hydrated is important as well – make sure to drink lots of water and herbal teas. Avoid sugary sodas – they will disrupt your energy level and make you more susceptible to stress symptoms.
When it comes to tea and coffee, you can drink them in limited amounts – no more than 5 cups a day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure to drink the last one no later than 6 pm.
7. Avoid stimulants
If you think energy drinks are your allies in studying, you better think twice. All kinds of sports and energy drinks contain both sugar and caffeine – responsible for disrupting your bodily balance and making you an easier victim for stress.
Students often turn to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs to deal with their exam stress. Even though they give an impression of relaxation, soon you’ll learn that those stimulants generate a feeling of craving more and in excess can eventually over-stimulate you or even slow you down. Avoid stimulants and you’ll be in your right mind to fight off the exam stress.
8. Exercise regularly
There’s no better way to deal with stress than to simply sweat it out. Even if it seems your schedule is full, do your best to find an hour for sports at least three times a week. Run, swim, play sports with friends – moving your body will release chemicals of happiness like endorphins to help you fight stress.
9. A dose of relaxation
If your anxiety is getting out of hand, try to find a quiet corner and sit in a comfortable position, breathing deeply in and out, focusing your mind on something pleasant, which helps your to relax.
An important point of relaxation is sleep. Those few hours in the night are extremely valuable to your body, so instead of wasting them on extra study sessions, try to get a good night’s sleep. Deprived of a solid 8-hour sleep, our body can carry on only for one or two days – if you keep tossing and turning at night, try a hot bath or a repetitive task right before you go to sleep.
10. Reward yourself
Make sure that your study timetable also incorporates a reward – something really great that will keep you going and motivate you to spend this extra hour on studying. If you plan something really exciting to celebrate the end of exam session, the exam itself will be contextualized in a much more pleasant setting, eventually causing your less stress.
Exam stress makes up for an essential element of every student’s life. But that doesn’t mean that you need to risk your mental and physical health for its sake – something that can happen due to prolonged stress symptoms. Believe in yourself, work hard and reach a state of mental and physical balance – the ability to fight stress will become invaluable in your later life.
The article was contributed by Isabel Wiliams of http://www.bizdb.co.uk/