Have exams coming up? Sometimes the pressure you feel can help keep you focused, other times it can cause stress. Check out these tips to help you cope with stress during exam time.
What does exam stress look like?
Some signs of stress include:
1. Feeling confused
2. Losing touch with friends
3. Feeling moody and low
4. Having trouble making decisions
5. Feeling overwhelmed
6. Lack of motivation to do anything
7. Trouble sleeping or getting out of bed
8. Tense muscles or headaches
9. Having an upset stomach or feeling sick
10. Fidgeting, nail biting, teeth grinding
Why do people experience exam stress?
1. Worry they might fail
2. Don’t feel prepared
3. Want to do really well
4. Don’t have much time to study
5. Need to get a certain result
6. Don’t think they will do well
7. Find it hard to understand what they’re studying
8. Feel pressure from family to get good marks
9. Feel they need to compete with others
10. Have other things happening in their life
Getting ready to study
1. It’s never too late to set up good study habits. Here’s some helpful ideas:
2. Find a quiet place to study without distractions.
3. Set-up your study space. Make sure it’s not too cluttered and has everything you might need.
4. Find out as much as you can about the exam so you can prepare.
5. Ask your teacher if you’re unsure of what will be tested.
6. Learn to make ‘mind maps’ and use them to collect ideas and thoughts, use bright colours to help remember important links.
7. Make a plan of what you want to work on in each study session. Break it down into small tasks and work on one task at a time.
8. Take regular short breaks – use this time to have a drink, get something to eat or play with a pet.
9. Ask for help – If you’re having trouble with something you’re studying ask a teacher, friend, sibling or parent to help.
Tips to help while studying
Try these tips and tricks:
1. Stick to a routine by eating and sleeping at around the same time each day
2. Get a good night’s sleep. This gives your brain time to recharge and remember what you’ve learnt.
3. Give yourself mini rewards once you achieve your study goals – watch a TV show or go for a run
4. Keep focused on your study – don’t let other stuff like friendship worries distract you.
4. Avoid junk food – it will bring a sudden burst of energy and then fall away quickly leaving you feeling worn-out.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet – lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts and protein are all good for the brain and energy levels.
6. Allow yourself time to rest – try out some relaxation activities like deep breathing, meditation or listening to music.
7. Cut back on energy drinks they can increase nerves. Drink lots of water instead!
Ideas for exam day
Here’s some tips to help exam day go smoothly:
- Work out what you need to take with you on exam day and organise this the night before.
- Eat a good, light breakfast – this will help with energy and concentration.
- Go to the toilet before the exam starts.
- If you feel yourself getting worried before your exam – spend some time focusing on your breathing.
- When you sit down to do your exam, take time to slow your breathing and relax.
- Read through the exam paper carefully. Underline key words and instructions.
- Work out how long you have for each question or section.
- Aim to have time to re-read answers through and to make any changes.
- Work on the questions that you find easiest first.
“Remember passing an exam is only part of the story. There’s always a second chance or another way to reach your goals”
Dr Ashutosh Srivastava
Clinical Psychotherapist & Counsellor Psyuni
If you’re feeling stressed about exams, you’re not alone.
Talking to someone and finding ways to cope during exam time can help.
If you need help coping with exam stress, give us a call 080 28521018, or email us today ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).