How to Deal With Exam Anxiety
As the exam period approaches, Year 12 students are all working hard to revise and consolidate their acquired knowledge as they prepare to sit exams at the end of October.
Exams are a time when students often feel more stressed than usual. Stress is a normal part of life and can aid performance; an increase in adrenaline can assist students to “stay on track”, work diligently and complete tasks in a timely manner. However, too much stress can make a young person feel overwhelmed, de‐motivated, exhausted or edgy…. and this may prove detrimental to exam results in the long run. Seek professional help if your anxiety is adversely affecting your sleep, appetite or causing unexplained aches, pains or blurred vision.
Tips for Managing the Revision Period
Effective Study Habits: Effective study habits can reduce stress levels in all students, irrespective of age. A good daily routine, a realistic study plan, regular breaks and good time management all help to produce positive outcomes. When studying, remove all distractions such as Facebook, mobile phones etc. and set short term achievable goals.
Diet: Eat right and treat yourself like a well‐ honed machine: eat fresh fruit and veggies and have a proper breakfast. Fuel your brain as well as your body. Drink lots of water and monitor your sugar and caffeine intake.
Exercise: Nothing de‐stresses the mind faster than physical exercise, so build it into your timetable. The body releases “feel good” endorphins and burns off cortisol and excess adrenaline. Being a sloth makes a mind sloppy too.
Sleep: Sleep well — get 8 hours. Stop studying at least one hour prior to going to bed, turn off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime in order to unwind and enjoy a more restful sleep.
Relaxation: Meditation, mindfulness and relaxation exercises can assist in reducing anxiety levels, improve concentration, enhance memory and help you to remain calm and in control.
Tips to Manage Pre and Post Exam Jitters
- Learn to manage when you are stressing out. A break or chat with someone who knows the pressure you’re under will put things into perspective.
- Avoid comparing your abilities with your mates. Those comments, “Oh my goodness I’ve only read the text 14 times” create stress. Everyone approaches revision in different ways, so make sure you’ve chosen the right method for you.
- Panic is often triggered by hyper‐ventilating (quick, shallow breaths), so if you feel yourself losing it during the exam, sit back for a moment and control your breathing. Deep breath in and out through the nose, counting to five each way.
- Steer clear of exam post‐mortems. It doesn’t matter what your friend wrote for Question 2 ©, it’s too late to go back and change the answer, so it will only make you worry even more.
Remember; don’t lose sight of the fact that there is life after exams. Things seem intense now……. but it won’t last forever. Best of Luck!!!
Ms Maree Keel