Every student has faced this dreaded beast at least once in their lifetime. Yes, EXAM STRESS! that’s what it’s called. Whether you are an A grade student or a backbencher, the infamous exam stress has threatened us all. Especially, when it is that time of the year at school or college when the bell for the IGCSE or year-end examinations is rung. How difficult or easy is it to beat this beast? Or to overcome exam stress?
LET’S FIND OUT HOW TO OVERCOME EXAM STRESS…
Research has shown that exam-related stress affects all students.
Now more than ever before, the number of students experiencing examination stress is escalating, making it a vital topic amongst study-related mental health concerns.
Studies also show that students are now under more stress to perform well in their examinations.
It is a rat race out there in the world today, and levels of competition are skyrocketing with every passing generation.
Students are well aware of the reality that their examination grades are the ticket to better opportunities.
There are always two groups when it comes to examination stress-related conversation.
Advocates of why should students have to experience examination stress against the advocates of traditional competitive studying who say the term exam stress is used as an excuse.
Either way, both sides have seen students experience this anxiety.
Some may defeat it and others, although never admitting it, have lost a great deal fighting it.
Hence, the million-dollar question is how do we overcome exam stress?
This article on 7 powerful ways to cope with exam stress will help you make small practical changes to your routine to conquer exam stress.
STAY POSITIVE AND BREATHE
A few characteristic features of stress are:
2. Heightened Heart Rate
5. Fear of not meeting expectations
6. Headaches and Migraines
Anxiety comes with nausea, sweaty palms, being overwhelmed, a feeling of tightness in the stomach and muscles, and difficulty in making decisions.
In situations like these, although it may seem impossible, it is important to stay positive and calm.
A major way to stay calm is to KEEP BREATHING.
Taking DEEP MINDFUL BREATHS reduces anxiety and restores balance in both mind and body.
Staying positive will also help students make clear decisions and comprehend stressful situations in a healthy way.
Students will feel the exam stress when they:
1. Feel they are not prepared for an exam and fear they will not perform well in it.
2. If there is a lot to study and recall.
3. If they do not understand the material or information that needs to be learned.
In all these THREE situations having a clear head and calm demeanor is vital.
Positivity and the ability to stay grounded will help students do the needful and address the reasons giving them stress.
DECLUTTER YOUR MIND AND WORKSPACE
Another effective way to clear your head is to declutter the mind as well as your workspace.
Every student has a workspace where they prepare or study for exams.
If you do not have one, then it’s high time you make one for yourself in a corner, it does not have to be fancy. just has to be useful.
A workspace is a small area that you can dedicate to studying and revising.
Decluttering the mind and organizing your workspace will help arrange your ideas and resources for revision.
Everything must be organized to be at arm’s length so as to not waste time looking for it.
Be it notes, books, stationary, exam documents, or even your laptop and its charger.
Remember! time is of the essence, every minute and second counts if you are prepping for an exam and that too last minute.
A messy workspace and a troubled mind will take up valuable time and energy.
Clearing up your mind is all about making sure there are NO thoughts of panic, self-doubt, and fear.
Uneccassry and demotivating thoughts can cloud your judgment and can slow your pace as well as your revision goals.
Try thinking of things that inspire you, help you remember to never give up, and keep moving on.
BE REALISTIC WHEN MAKING AN ACTION PLAN
Now that your workspace and mind are clear, the next plan of action is to make AN ACTION PLAN!
Action plans speak for themselves and are made when you have to get things done.
These plans have to be clear, concise and must help you achieve your end goals.
Essentially an action plan is to help put your ideas and things that need to be done on paper so that you do not go off track.
Your goal is to complete a certain amount of IGCSE Biology chapters in two days.
The action plan has to include all the important aspects of revising and practicing for those chapters over the course of the next two days.
This includes; the chapter notes, past paper revision, short notes, even the routine and times at which you will be studying.
Moreover, it should also include if you will be attending any revision sessions with tutors or groups classes with friends.
Basically, a small but all-inclusive productive plan that will help you, prepare yourself, propel you to the goal, and produce results.
EAT WELL, SLEEP RIGHT, AND EXERCISE
As the action plan is now ready to roll and you are prepared to follow through, there are THREE things that are important to the well-being of the student:
1. Eating well
2. Sleeping Right
3. Healthy Amounts of Exercise
Very often than not, students underestimate the power of a good meal, adequate rest, and healthy movement.
It’s always about ‘Il eat later’ or ‘just one more chapter and then I will eat’.
But food is fuel and students running on subject marathons, run on low levels of fuel, which in the long run is harmful.
So, for a change take your parent’s advice and eat breakfast before you hit the books for the day.
Sleep and exercise physically serve two different purposes, yet are vital to a fit body and mind.
Adequate rest is crucial to relax both the mind and body, so you can perform better the next day.
Exercise also helps the body bust out unnecessary stress, toxins through sweating and helps absorb healthy levels of oxygen into the bloodstream.
These features instantly release feel-good hormones called endorphins that boost a student’s mood and productivity levels.
MINIMISE SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
This tip or suggestion is the hardest for students to follow, and that is why it is the most important of all.
Social media is like a black hole for students who are under exam stress and need to get their lives together.
It creates a vicious cycle for students who feel that they are stressed and need to Instagram or Facebook to feel better.
Indirectly, it keeps enticing the student into wasting all the precious time into hours of scrolling and liking posts on Instagram.
And before you know it another day is GONE… just. like. that. POOF!!
But this has to STOP!
Minimizing social media usage will bring back all the lost time the student feels is lost.
It is always wise to remember that you will not be able to open an app and resit your exam again if you perform badly.
But you will always be able to reopen your Instagram App.
FIND THE RIGHT GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT
More often than not, students who complain of exam stress also feel they are LOST and HAVE NOWHERE TO GO.
It could be that they are not getting enough support, or they fear reaching out to parents, teachers, peers, and counselors.
This fear comes from the idea of not showing how vulnerable you are.
Many students go through peer pressure to look cool and show that they do not need help.
But on the inside, they are crying and confused about how to deal with exam stress.
On the other hand, there are students who know they need help but waste too much time.
They delay seeking the right help or support thinking they will figure it out eventually.
Either way, seeking support, and the right guidance can make a world of a difference.
Not just in the grades or marks the students produce but also in the people they grow up to be.
Firstly, as parents, educators, and mental health professionals, it is important to show students that they can reach out for help.
Secondly, students themselves must reach out to the help that is provided.
If not, they must make it clear to their parents that they need help.
There is no shame in it.
It could be as simple as seeking a consulting or counseling session.
Or it can be an extra revision session with an expert IGCSE online tutor.
Thirdly, this is to everybody, exam stress is REAL and it can affect the mental and physical wellbeing of any child or adult.
FOCUS, READY, SET, AND GO!
FOCUS- Focus on your goal
READY- Ready your workplace, mind, support, and resources
SET- Set up your action plan to achieve the tasks that will help you reach your goal.
GO!!- Go for it without any fear, doubt, or tension of the world around you.
In reality, defeating the stress monster may take a lot of hard work.
However, every student must know that they ARE NOT ALONE.
While it may feel difficult to think and process how to get over exam stress, students must remember to breathe, stay positive and never give up.