Exams can be nerve-wracking experiences, and the pressure to do well can cause you to feel stressed and anxious about taking an exam. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your stress levels before and during an exam, which can help you retain information better, think more clearly, and retain your composure on test day. Here are 10 tips that may help you manage your stress so you’re ready to ace any exam.
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Exam stress is the feeling that comes from being stressed out about an upcoming exam. This can cause anxiety, nervousness, and even panic attacks.
Exam stress is a common problem that many students face before their exams. It can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. This is especially true if the student has not studied enough or prepared well for the exam. There are ways to reduce this stress and prevent these negative effects from occurring.
If you are experiencing exam stress, here are some tips to help you get through your exams without having any problems.
1. Prepare For The Exam
While preparing for an exam, try to reduce stress by eliminating all distractions. Clear your schedule so you have time to study and get a good night’s sleep before taking an exam. Turn off all electronics such as phones and computers, so you can focus on studying without any outside interference. Establish a study routine before each exam. This will give you a sense of comfort, making it easier for you to stay focused on your goal of acing exams.
2. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
You may think you’re saving time by skipping breakfast, but studies have shown that eating in the morning actually helps reduce stress levels. Try eating a small meal or healthy snack about an hour before your exam starts—if you can’t eat at home, grab something on-the-go like a fruit smoothie. Studies show that the sugar content will help boost your energy level for the test and give you some much-needed brain power. Avoid high-fat foods like doughnuts because they can cause digestion problems which will just add to your anxiety. Drink Plenty of Water: When you’re studying all day, it’s easy to forget how thirsty you are—but dehydration is a common cause of anxiety and stress!
3. Avoid Pro-Anxiety Behavior
Although it might seem logical that studying until 3 a.m. is a surefire way to ensure that you ace your next exam, there’s some compelling research showing that how much and when you study can significantly impact your stress levels. In fact, studies have shown that people who cram before exams often do worse than those who take an active break between study sessions. Other research suggests that students who sleep at least six hours the night before their exam perform better. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and reduce a*cohol consumption while preparing for an exam.
4. Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can help you cram for an exam, but too much caffeine can make it difficult to relax and focus on your studies. Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee a day. While tea contains caffeine, some experts say it’s gentler on your system than coffee. For example, black tea has about half as much caffeine as coffee and green tea has even less.
5. Take Breaks During The Test
As you take your exam, remember that you should be working as hard as possible while minimizing stress. If it becomes too difficult, don’t be afraid to take a break and walk around or even spend some time doing something else. You’ll have a much easier time when you get back! If you need help with timing, use this chart:
- Divide the total amount of time by the number of minutes in an hour
- Multiply by 5 minutes (the number of minutes in a quarter-hour)
- Write down on paper how many periods of 5 minutes you will work
- Take those breaks between each period of five minutes.
After the first five-minute period, reward yourself with a quick break for two minutes before starting another five-minute block. At the end of the test, congratulate yourself for sticking it out and know that you did everything in your power to do well!
6. Don’t Procrastinate.
Procrastination is the worst thing you can do when it comes to studying. It makes you feel anxious and guilty, but it does nothing to actually help you study. Instead of waiting until the last minute to start studying, get started early. Set aside time each day to study, and don’t let anything else distract you.
7. Exercise Before Exams
Exercising reduces stress and raises your energy levels, meaning you’ll be able to focus on studying for longer. Choose a form of exercise that fits into your schedule (see tip #4). Start slowly—just 20 minutes a day is great. You can work up from there as you get used to exercising again. Exercising might mean walking, taking a yoga class, swimming laps, playing tennis or basketball with friends, or working out at home with workout DVDs. It’s up to you!
8. Relax Before Exams
The stress of exam preparation can be compounded by pressure from family and friends. It’s important to remember that while they care about your success, they may not always have realistic expectations or understand how stressful taking exams can be. Try and relax before a big exam by spending time with people who will help you unwind and not worry you any more than you already are!
9. Study In A Quiet Environment
Our brain works best when we have enough time to concentrate and let go of distractions. Find a place where you can study for at least 30 minutes without being interrupted. The quiet environment will help you focus on your work. Don’t try to study in a noisy environment as it can distract you and affect your concentration studying.
10. Eat Well Throughout The Day
When we’re under stress, our appetite changes and our energy levels drop. It’s easy to turn to quick-fix foods high in sugar or fat that provide a boost, but eating too much of these can hurt your health in many ways. Instead, focus on eating small, nutritious meals throughout the day—this will not only keep you energized and focused but will also prevent feelings of hunger and discomfort.
When it comes down to it, managing stress really isn’t all that difficult. But if you’re not careful and do let your stress take over, it can negatively impact both your performance in life and on exams. Luckily, if you follow these 10 tips for reducing exam stress, you should be able to manage your stress levels well enough so that your grades don’t suffer. Best of luck!