Your palms sweat and your heart pounds in your chest. It’s test day and you’re just outside the classroom, ruffling through your notes one last time.
Who hasn’t experienced the stress of exams? While it may be a normal part of life, stress can overwhelm you completely while preparing for your GSCEs, SATs or end of semester exams. So, what can you do about it?
With these tips, you can make it through exams with minimal stress and also make sure you’re well-prepared to perform to the best of your abilities:
1.Start Preparing Early
A lot of exam stress stems from worrying about being ready. If you start well in advance for your exam date, you can make sure that you don’t end up cramming. Research shows that cramming just before the exam isn’t nearly as effective as studying over time. So, get out an old fashioned calendar or use a digital calendar to organize your study time, plan well in advance.
But, if you find yourself in a last minute study bind, be realistic about the time you have left and how much you can study. Then, try to put together a schedule for the days you have available for studying.
2. Organize Your Space
Working in a messy space can increase your feelings of stress. There’s even research to prove it! If you don’t have time to clean up your whole room, then at least clean off your desk or a table where you can work. Having a clean study space will help calm your nerves and lower your stress levels so that you can study effectively.
3. Test Yourself
One of the most effective study techniques is to test yourself. Whether you make up your own sample test or you use already prepared practice tests, testing yourself strengthens your memory recall. Some practical ways to test yourself include:
- Making flashcards with important terms or vocabulary words. Put the definition on the back side. Then, read a term and write down what you think of the definition is, or say it allowed, before checking if you were correct.
- Look at your textbook headings. But, cover the information with your hand and then explain the concept or content to yourself before checking to make sure you’re right.
4. Talk it Through
Struggling with stress? Take a minute to vent. Find a trusted friend or family member and give yourself the freedom to express your frustrations and stress about the upcoming exam. Then, once you’re done, move on with productive studying and self-care again. You can also get some professional help from the anxiety management experts under UrbanCircle family wellbeing category.
5. Study with Someone
If possible, find a study partner! This can help you reduce your stress and improves your scores, research shows.
Studying with a tutor or exam specialist is also a great strategy that will help you feel prepared, eliminating that stressful feeling of “I’m not ready!” You can find lots of qualified tutors for test preparation on UrbanCircle who are ready to help you.
6. Make Time to Sleep
If you have to choose between staying up late studying and a good night’s sleep, choose the sleep. Scientists who study memory and alertness find that lack of sleep can really drain your ability to remember information and also makes you prone to making mistakes. Make sure you aren’t getting consistently short nights. If you get 6 hours a night or less for a week, it can affect you as seriously as an all-nighter!
But, unfortunately, stress can make it hard to sleep. So, play relaxing music, take a bath, or do breathing exercises to calm down enough to sleep. Exercise can also help!
7. Use Breathing Exercises to Calm Down
Deep breathing exercises can lower your blood pressure and calm that stress response. You can even do these exercises to relax and clear your mind just before your exam or during your exam.
With these tips, you can face your exam with confidence and a level head. Although you may still get a few pre-exam jitters, you’ll have survived the study period free of excessive stress.