Exams, in any form, can be a source of stress and anxiety for many of us – some feel sleepless before an exam, others draw a blank when they see a question paper and some of us get panic attacks. But exams are a part of our life and we need to learn to cope with them in a healthy manner. In this edition of That’s Puzzling, let’s discuss some tips to manage exam-related stress.
Create a study plan
One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to create a study plan. Start by reviewing your course syllabus and exam schedule. Then, create a schedule that allocates your study time based on the topics you need to review, how much time you have until the exam, and your personal study preferences. Divide your time between subjects and topics based on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you are strong in math, allocate less time to it, and more time to a subject that you find challenging.
Take breaks and manage time
While it may be tempting to study for long hours, it is important to take breaks regularly to avoid burnout. Plan short breaks during your study session to relax, stretch or meditate. Additionally, make the most of your time by prioritizing the most important tasks. For example, if you have a test on Monday and a project due on Friday, prioritize studying for your test over working on your project.
Get enough sleep and exercise
Taking care of your physical health is essential for exam success. Make sure you get enough sleep, and aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, as this can help you feel more energized and focused during your exams. Additionally, exercise regularly, even if it’s just a quick walk around your neighbourhood. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can help you perform better in exams.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and we all progress at different paces. Focus on your own progress and work on improving your own abilities. Additionally, avoid comparing your exam scores with your classmates, as it can create unhealthy competition and make you feel more stressed.
Believing in yourself and your abilities is essential for exam success. Stay positive and remind yourself that you can achieve your goals with hard work and determination. Additionally, focus on the progress you’ve made so far and avoid dwelling on the mistakes you’ve made. If you’re struggling with a particular topic, seek help from your teachers or tutors.
Practice relaxation techniques
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation through yoga are all great ways to help you manage stress and anxiety during exams. Practice these techniques daily, so you are familiar with them when a panic attack occurs. Practising them daily also builds our body’s capacity to deal with stressful situations.
Identify the triggers
Panic attacks are a common occurrence during exams, and it is essential to know how to manage them. If you know what triggers your panic attacks, you can prepare for them in advance. For example, if you know you get nervous during timed exams, practice taking practice tests under timed conditions to help you get comfortable with the time pressure.
If you are scared of a particular subject such as maths, and these attacks happen only during that particular exam, then prepare for the subject way before the exam and seek external help. Do a lot of practice sheets and take many timed exams and get them checked by someone. Sleep enough and eat something before the exam day.
Visualize a positive outcome
Visualizing a positive outcome can help you feel more confident and less anxious during exams. Close your eyes and imagine yourself successfully completing the exam, and receiving a good grade. This can help you feel more optimistic and less anxious during the exam.
If you are experiencing severe anxiety or panic attacks during exams, which hinder you from performing or is making you fall sick, don’t be afraid to seek help. Talk to your parents, teachers, or a mental health professional to help you develop strategies to manage your anxiety.
Exams can be a source of stress and anxiety, but with the right strategies, you can perform well. Best of luck!
Photo: Shutterstock/Shyamalamuralinath/Person in the photo is a model/Names changed.
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