Exam season is upon us, and the pressure you’re feeling right now might be from the overwhelm of meeting deadlines and anticipating the hours you’ll need to study. With that overwhelm comes confusion, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, or even headaches and stomachaches. Why do students experience stress during exams, anyway? Well, for some students, they might feel they are not prepared, worry they might fail, feel pressure from family, or have high expectations of themselves. Today, I want to provide you with some tips to help you feel less stressed during exam time. These tips are broken down into stages that start well before exam time and carry on throughout study sessions leading up to exam day. So, let’s get to them.
Getting Ready to Study
Find out details of the exam
Your teacher will likely tell you what is on the exam, but if you want to know more, ask them for exact information. Finding out what is on the exam helps you be better prepared, as your teacher will tell you whether you need to study a few concepts or the whole unit.
Create an organized and quiet study space
Your study space should be free of distractions like your phone, tablet, or anything that will hinder you from focusing. Make sure your workspace is decluttered and organized, as it will help you focus solely on studying and keep you motivated.
Plan ahead for your study session
Break larger tasks into small manageable ones. By doing this, you won’t feel overwhelmed and can focus on one concept at a time until you master it.
Ask for help
If you don’t understand something your teacher explained in class, ask them for help. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a parent, older sibling, or classmate for advice or clarification. They’ll more than likely have the knowledge and will be willing to assist.
While you’re studying
Take regular short breaks
Taking small breaks while you’re studying for exams is crucial to avoid fatigue. Study a key concept then rest for 5-10 minutes. Use this time to grab something small to eat, have a drink, or help your parents with a task. Once the break is over, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to resume studying.
Stick to a routine
If you study or work well in the mornings, wake up earlier to study. The same goes if you study better in the evenings. By establishing a routine for your study schedule, you will see yourself get into a better eating and sleeping schedule as well. Study a little bit every day to ensure you’re not cramming the night before the exam.
Get enough sleep
It’s so easy to think you have all the time in the world to study, so you might as well pull all-nighters. This is not the best solution. By pulling an all-nighter, your body is being pushed beyond its limits, which means you’ll be jolting your nervous system to stay alert. However, by frequently doing so, your brain is unable to retain all of the information you studied, which means all of the work you’ve put in was for nothing. Try to get your 7-8 hours of recommended sleep, so you feel refreshed when studying for your exam.
Your rewards can be as small as taking a 5-minute snack or phone break, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or going for a walk. Rewarding yourself keeps you on track to study the concepts you set out for the day and will help motivate you for future study sessions.
Eat balanced meals
Make sure to eat healthy meals by sticking to fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and protein. Doing this will boost your mood and overall performance while you study. You will inevitably increase your energy level, so you can be more productive and focused during intense study sessions and on exam day.
Preparing on exam day
Prepare your materials before Exam Day
Take ten minutes out of your night routine to figure out what you need for exam day, whether it’s your backpack with writing materials, ID, snack, water, keys, etc. Preparing this the night before will alleviate exam-day jitters.
Read the exam in its entirety
Many students rush through exams and don’t carefully read each question. Gauge the whole exam and figure out where you need to spend the most amount of time. Then, tackle the easiest questions first, so you can get them out of the way for complex questions that require more of your time and effort.
Review your answers
If you neglect to review your answers, you might lose points, so it’s important to reserve enough time to look over your completed exam before you submit. You might catch some grammatical errors or mistakes after a second look.
If you’re worried about studying or even taking exams, focus on your breathing. You can also try listening to calming music before exam day to help you maintain your composure. Focusing on your breathing and finding a quiet space in your mind will help you get in the right mindset before and during the exam.
Following these tips will help you to feel less stressed during exam time, so you can concentrate and stay on top of your studying. Being in control of your nutrition, sleep, and breathing allows you to have a clearer mind, so you are ready to tackle your exam head on. Try these tips, and let me know how they fair for you.