Exam time is the most stressful period of the year – for both students and parents alike! While stress can serve as a source of motivation to help us study better, extreme or chronic stress can impact our mental and physical health negatively. Thus, it is important to learn how to manage exam stress early and to prevent it from interfering in your ability to perform well in the end of year exams.
What is exam stress, and when does it get excessive?
Exam stress is the feeling of tension and worry that comes from test-taking situations. It becomes excessive when you find yourself feeling worn out from it, and start experiencing symptoms such as:
- Headaches or tense muscles
- Poor sleep quality or insomnia
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Feeling moody and low or anxious and overwhelmed
- Difficulty feeling motivated to start studying
How can you prevent or deal with exam stress?
1. Set a revision timetable
Exam stress often comes about from feeling like you are inadequately prepared, and having to do last-minute cramming to catch up. However, exam preparation can be much less overwhelming with proper time management.
This can be done by ensuring that sufficient time is allocated for revision. Creating a schedule with a fixed time for each subject helps to break down a big task into smaller and more manageable pieces. You can also consider using revision techniques to help you revise more effectively if you’re short on time.
Remember to take short breaks in between each revision period to recharge yourself, so as to keep your brain in the optimal condition to learn. Most importantly, you need to ensure that you adhere to your schedule as much as possible!
2. Take better care of yourself
Ensure that you get a sufficient amount of rest – ideally 7 hours of sleep each night. Having ample rest can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels significantly, while boosting your immune system to keep you healthy during the exam season.
Another way to stay healthy is to exercise regularly. Exercising helps to reduce stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins to lighten up your mood. Even a simple walk around your neighbourhood can do wonders to help keep you motivated.
3. Have a conducive studying environment
Designate an area meant for studying, and keep it clutter-free, with possible distractions out of sight. Studies have shown that clutter in your workspace can overload your brain, impairing your ability to think clearly, which can lead to stress. Keeping your work environment clean and organised can help you think and perform better.
4. Set realistic expectations
While it is good to strive for our best performance, having unrealistic expectations on yourself will cause a lot of unnecessary pressure. This can ultimately threaten your self-confidence and results in disappointment when you are unable to meet them.
Ensure that you set reasonable and achievable goals that can keep you motivated to work towards them. Plus, remind yourself that it is normal for efforts to not always translate to an improvement in results immediately. In fact, every failure can be a good learning opportunity to do better in the future.
5. Talk to someone you trust
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious, do talk to your trusted friends and family members about how you feel. Bottling up feelings of anxiety and worry can cause more undue stress to build up.
In fact, studies have shown that simply talking about our problems with someone we trust can be profoundly healing. Getting reassurance for your worries can be effective in reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing physical and emotional distress.
As long as it’s not excessive, stress can be a positive addition to your life. Hence, it is crucial for students to find the healthy balance that allows them to perform their best in various aspects of life.
To adequately prepare yourself for your exams, be sure to check out our wide range of assessment and guidebooks for students! Check out our online shop to view our guidebooks and assessment books from pre-school to JC level and more!