“I can’t do this”
“How do I finish this?”
“I think I’m going to have a blackout”
“I’m going to fail”
Are these the feelings that haunt you when exams are nearing? This is called exam stress. At times the pressure of an approaching exam can help you prepare better.
However other times, the stress can be so overwhelming that it can ruin your focus. It is better not to allow the stress to build up to an extent that it ruins your preparation for the exams. Through this blog, we have tried to enumerate some points on how to reduce exam stress.
Before we look into the guidelines of how to overcome exam stress, it is necessary to be able to identify this particular stress.
Just like a pill for a headache cannot treat tummy pain, you need to be able to recognise exam stress so that you can specifically treat it.
How Do You Know You Are Experiencing Exam Stress?
Exam stress does not manifest itself in any particular form. You may show one or more symptoms or a totally new symptom altogether. Just to give you an idea of what exam stress can look like, below are a few indications though not exhaustive.
- Having extreme mood swings
- Not keeping in touch with friends
- Biting nails
- Feeling unwell
- Having an upset tummy
- Suffering from headaches
- Getting up at odd hours in the night
- Unable to sleep
- Feeling lethargic and unable to do your normal chores
- Feeling low and sad
- Sweaty palms
Why Do You Experience Exam Stress?
Although you may be well prepared for an exam, you may still experience one or more of the symptoms above. Being fully prepared for an exam does not eliminate exam stress, though it may help reduce the stress to an extent. You may experience exam stress for more reasons than one.
Some of the reasons can be compressed as follows:
- Inadequate preparation
- Pressure from teachers and parents
- Competition between peers
- Fear of failure
- Lack of time for preparation
- Need for a particular result due to financial conditions.
- Distractions from events at the time
- Inability to understand study material
Examination stress can reduce the ability to perform to your full capabilities.
Here Are 12 Tips to Reduce Exam Stress:
1. Study Right
Studying right is one of the simplest ways to reduce exam stress. In our blog post tips for students to focus on studies, we have enlisted a few guidelines for students to improve their concentration on studies.
Studying right means making the perfect arrangements so that you can concentrate on your studies. Thereby reducing the level of stress.
You must select a realistic portion to study. Do not try to cover vast portions in a small period of time. The pressure builds up.
Study every day so that you have time to cover portions over a longer period of time. It is also advisable to set a good time of the day to study. Select a time of the day that works well for you. Utilise that time to focus on your study schedule.
Applying the Pomodoro technique can also help in studying right. The Pomodoro technique uses quick breaks in between study schedules.
2. Speak to Someone
One of the best ways to relieve exam stress is to talk it out. You can talk to a teacher, your parents, friends, or even a professional therapist.
Talking to someone can relieve your stress. You need not necessarily speak of your stress. You can also speak generally to someone. Talking releases stress.
A number of Government initiatives and NGOs come up with helplines for students. Students can call up these numbers and seek professional therapy to overcome stress during exams.
At times students hesitate to ask for help for fear of social stigma. Remember, seeking help is not a stigma. In fact, seeking help is courageous and not a cowardly act. However, you can seek professional help while at the same time, remaining anonymous.
Some exam-related helplines are detailed below.
2.1 Exam Related Helplines
- CBSE – 1800-11-8004
- ICSE – (011) 26413820, 26411706, 30820091/94
- JEE and NTA – 0120-6895200
- IGNOU – 011-295327411
3. Take a Break
When you feel the stress getting the better of you, it is advisable to indulge in a bit of music. Listen to music that you like. Or listen to some calm and soothing tunes.
You can watch your favorite TV show or watch a comedy. Laughter is one of the best ways to reduce exam stress. Laughing is and will always be the best form of therapy
4. Eat a Chocolate
Believe it or not, studies show that eating a bit of dark chocolate can reduce stress levels. The research on Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects”, was conducted by the Journal of Proteome Research. So why not try this method. At the same time do not overeat and try to avoid too much caffeine.
5. Adopt Relaxation Techniques
Adopting techniques to relax is one of the best ways to overcome exam stress. Taking deep breaths through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth is a relaxing technique. For more information on relaxation through breathing log on to UMHS.
Adopting other relaxation techniques like muscle relaxation and self-massage are also good stress-busters. You can learn a few techniques to relieve exam stress from here.
6. Spend Time with Family
While preparing for exams, it is vital to spend time with the family. Even half an hour with the family helps you to overcome stress. Sharing a meal together at the table or just a small chat can help reduce the stress. Family is the support you can always count on. Whatever happens, they will be there to cheer you on for every of your life goals.
7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
One of the foremost rules of destressing is that you should not compare yourself to others. There is no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.
Notice the five fingers on your own hand. None of the five fingers are the same. Likewise, no individual, even from the same family are alike. Each person comes with their own journey. Don’t compare yourself to others, love your own abilities.
8. Be Positive
“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better” – Dalai Lama
Another method to reduce exam stress is to have a positive attitude. You must have confidence in yourself and think positively. Always keep positive affirmations in mind.
“I am going to do well”
“This is easy”
“I am confident”
“I am well prepared”
Being optimistic is half the battle won.
9. Eat Light and Exercise Right
Overeating during exams is a sign of stress. Eat light but eat right. Have a well-balanced diet and avoid junk food during examinations. Eating a good amount of brain food can help you to destress. Eating brain food can boost memory power too.
10. Shower or Bath
A nice shower or bath is one of the best ways to overcome exam stress. Scientific research has shown that a warm shower or bath reduces stress levels to a great extent.
11. Good Night
Remember to always have a good night’s sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the body. Hence it is apparent that sleeping well is one of the best ways to reduce exam stress. A good night’s sleep work wonders for de-stressing.
12. How to Beat Stress on The Day of The Examination
The morning of the exam. Too many things running in your mind. The stress is getting to you.
Breathe…………………………………………Relax…………………………….…….….You got it!
Too much stress on the morning of the exam is not good. It is ok to discuss study material with classmates outside the examination hall.
You never know what last-minute information might be useful. It’s also advisable to avoid interacting with other people who are perpetually stressed about exams.
We don’t want their tension rubbing off on you. The least you can do is forward them this blog and ask them to follow your de-stressing techniques.
While attempting an exam, concentrate on your own answers. Do not get flustered or worried when another student asks for an extra answering sheet.
Do not keep looking at the clock. Repeatedly looking at the clock only stresses you out more. Keep a tab of the time. Time your answers well.
After the exam do not discuss the answers with friends. The exam is done and dusted. There is no point in discussing the answers and worrying about what you have not written. Avoid the post mortem.
We can conclude that de-stressing during exams is vital. A stress-free atmosphere is of utmost importance while preparing for or writing an exam.
The techniques mentioned above are some of the best ways to overcome exam stress. You may have your own methods of de-stressing and you should do what works best for you.