How to Deal With Exam Stress
You’ve probably heard that stress is not all bad. And it’s true: in small doses, stress can be exactly what you need to stop procrastinating. It can push you to be more focused on your work, and outdo yourself.
Stress can lead to anxiety and insomnia. If you often feel stressed before or during the exam period, check out these methods to cope with exam stress.
Before treating the consequences, there are a few things you can do to solve the problem at its roots. Think about what causes you to stress during the exam period, and anticipate what could go wrong.
Do you often think you haven’t studied enough? Do you not know what to expect from the test? Are you worried you might forget everything you’ve learned on the big day?
Now, do everything in your power to solve those problems ahead of time. To make sure you’re ready, make a thorough schedule and stick to it as rigorously as possible. If you tend to procrastinate, remind yourself how much easier it’ll be if you start now.
Don’t just study the material: go over the exercises again, practice on previous exams, ask questions. Break your tasks in chunks and understand before you learn by heart. You’ll be much more likely to remember everything you’ve studied.
To prevent disappointment and unnecessary stress, make a list of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Create a Routine
Once you’ve made sure to study well and enough for your exams, you can deal with the consequences of stress. Try creating a routine: it will not only increase your productivity, but also create structure and reduce stress.
Following a routine doesn’t mean you have to schedule your whole day to the minute. Just think of a few positive actions, like making your bed, getting fresh air or organizing your desk. Then make sure you do these every day until they become habits.
These small additions to your day won’t take a lot of effort. But they’ll help you feel organized and in control. By giving you a sense of reassurance and regularity, following a routine can help you cope with stress during the exam period.
Routines are even more important in times of lockdown and distance learning. There’s no actual structure, no commute to school or university. To prevent and deal with stress, make sure you create a shift from “home” to “school” by changing into “work clothes”, for example. Also, dedicate a regular amount of time to studying.
In stressful times, students tend to neglect their health and well-being. But it’s the last thing you should be doing!
Proper nutrition is a key factor in reducing stress. Even if you feel like you don’t have enough time to cook, try to eat at least one healthy and balanced meal each day. It doesn’t have to be elaborate: even the simplest home cooked meal will help you feel more energized than fast food or processed foods.
You should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Feeling well rested on the day of your exam will improve concentration and decrease chances of making careless mistakes. As a result, you will feel less stressed.
Also, make sure to stay hydrated and limit your caffeine intake.
During the exam period, you need to dedicate a lot of time to studying. But that doesn’t mean you should be giving up on your hobbies and favourite activities altogether. In fact, doing the things you love can help you better deal with stress. Think about this: if you study for 8 hours and sleep 8 hours a day, that leaves you eight whole hours of doing whatever you want.
If you’re thinking about going to a party with your friends or spending the whole weekend playing video games, though, think again. These activities tend to be draining: they will leave more tired and stressed than you were in the first place.
Try some more stimulating distractions. Since we mostly work and study on our computers, think of hobbies that don’t involve screens. If you like sports, take some time to exercise or play your favourite sport. Make art, chat with a friend, play a board game, or have dinner with your family.
Finally, keep in mind that studying is important, but you can’t do it well if it’s all you do.
In short, the best way to handle stress is to prevent it at its core. Other solutions include following a routine, eating and sleeping well, and taking your mind off exams by doing something you enjoy.