You’re sweating and you’re tense.
Your heart is racing, and your fists are shaking…
Things are starting to get intense and then finally…it’s show time.
Exam or boxing match?
Jokes aside, both occasions call for several hours of practice, require incredible levels of dedication, and last but not least, certainly involve significant amounts of stress. And while we’re not boxing pros at Tutopiya, we can definitely help you in a face-off with your exams. How? By giving you ten incredibly useful tips for tackling exam stress and anxiety head-on. Here they are:
- PLAN YOUR EVERY MOVE
If you were battling against an opponent, you’d map out every strategy you could possibly use to gain the upper hand and increase your odds of winning. Similarly, when preparing for an exam, one of the best ways to reduce your exam stress is by planning ahead. Start by making a study schedule and committing to a set time every day to work on your exam preparation. A study schedule can lessen your exam-related anxiety because when you make it, you’re breaking down large chunks of exam material into smaller, more manageable chunks. This not only keeps you organized, but also gives you a sense of control and can help you to focus on the task at hand, instead of worrying about the outcome of the exam. Additionally, planning ahead gives you enough time for breaks in between study sessions, which, in the end, can help you feel more relaxed on the day of the exam.
- PRACTISE LIKE A PRO
Pro wrestlers don’t become pro wrestlers overnight. They practice, practice and practice until they’re exhausted and then they… practice harder. Why? It is because practicing ensures that you’re prepared for most outcomes and when you are more prepared, you naturally feel less anxious. In the case of exams, practicing for your big day using mock exams, question banks and other resources will not just improve your exam time management skills but will make you more familiar with the exam material. Being able to understand the exam topics better gives you greater confidence in your ability to answer any questions that arise. And once you’re reassured this way, your exam stress will undoubtedly reduce!
- DESIGN A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
You need to set yourself up for success by creating an environment that is conducive to learning. What this means is, to make sure that your learning environment is a positive one; a place where you feel peaceful in; a quiet and comfortable space for studying; a distraction-free zone. Use proven study techniques like the Pomodoro timer and focus apps like Forest to help you build this environment. Delete social media apps like Instagram and Tiktok from your phone. Alternatively, set timers on your phone for such apps or temporarily deactivate your social media accounts.
Moreover, keep snacks and water nearby as well as chargers for your devices. This ensures that you don’t get distracted easily by hunger, thirst, or other external factors. Also if you live in a home that’s noisy, try moving to another location like a relative’s home, the local library, a cafe, or even another floor in your house. What’s important here is the environment you surround yourself with, because having a positive environment can make you feel secure in the knowledge that you have done your best to remove all obstacles in the path of your exam preparation. Ultimately, this can lessen your exam stress.
- REMEMBER PROCRASTINATION IS A PRISON
To avoid falling a prisoner to procrastination, plan your time wisely by setting realistic goals. Do not cram all your studying or preparation into the night before the exam- that is oftentimes a recipe for disaster. Instead, start studying early. This gives you more time to review, understand and apply the exam material and ask for help if you need it. That way, you will feel more in control which can relieve you of your anxiety in the lead-up to your exams.
- LOOK AFTER YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
How does looking after your physical health assist you with battling exam stress?
Well, proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep are essential for your body to perform at its optimal level. When you sleep for 7-8 hours every night, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and exercise regularly, you are better equipped to handle stress. This in turn improves your focus and thought process when studying, which can increase the quality of your exam preparation, as well as make you more relaxed on the actual day of the exam.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Taking care of your mental health through activities like meditation, journaling, relaxation techniques, deep breathing, positive self-talk, and regular breaks can reduce your stress levels which can consequently reduce your exam-related stress, leading to an overall improvement in your exam performance. This is because when you are mentally healthy, you can better manage your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. If the above-mentioned techniques haven’t helped, try talking to a mental health professional or following some of our other tips on beating exam stress.
- FOCUS ON THE PROCESS & THINK OF THE BIG PICTURE
Thinking of “why” you’re studying and relating it to your future career goals can help you feel more at ease with the exam preparation process. Furthermore, try making studying enjoyable and fun by relating it to real-life examples. Shift your study mindset and focus from the outcome of the exam to the process of learning. Tell yourself “Even if I don’t get the grade I wanted, I still learned something that’ll help me in the future”. This line of thinking can help you take away some of your exam stress because you become more mindful of your actions, rather than worrying about the results alone.
- TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONES
One of the most common reasons students feel stressed out during exams is because they’re worried they won’t live up to their parent’s expectations. They worry about losing the affection of the people they care about if they don’t succeed. If that sounds like you, try chatting with your friends and family about your worries and communicate why you’re feeling stressed. Hopefully, you’ll be supported and reassured by them. If that isn’t an option, you can still assuage some of your exam anxiety by spending time with other people as well as animals that you care about- perhaps hugging a baby or petting a dog, or even watching funny cat videos may help distract you from your worries.
- BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Remember you are not alone. There are so many people who have gone through and are going through what you are experiencing right now. Find your tribe. This can be in the form of friends from your school or group tuition classes. Alternatively, you can find a support system in past pupils who have already done the exams you’re going to face- talk to them and get some advice that will reassure you and help you prepare well for your exams. If all else fails, the Internet is brimming with online forums that are full of people from across the globe, who are sitting for your exams or exams similar to yours- seek them out!
- TURN TO THE PROFESSIONALS
Perhaps you’ve tried every tip, tool, and trick in the book, and you’re desperate for help. Fear not. Sometimes you need a professional to guide you through the exam preparation process; ideally, someone who is seasoned, who has handled dozens of students with the same fears and anxieties as yours, and someone who is qualified to put your academic worries to rest. Tutopiya has got you covered. Whether it’s one-on-one support or group tuition classes, our qualified tutors are here to aid you in conquering your exam anxiety.
Last but not least, we get it. We know that preparing for an exam is hard. It can be strenuous and exhausting. As we said earlier, it can often be like preparing for a boxing match. But we know that with the right preparation and training, you don’t have to worry- you’ll be in top shape to tackle any challenge that heads your way and you’ll be able to put those exam worries at bay.