Stress levels can be higher than usual around exam time. While a bit of stress can help you to stay motivated and focused, too much can be unhelpful. Exam stress can be overwhelming. It can confuse and exhaust you. If it all seems to be getting on top of you, there are things you can do to keep calm. If you're experiencing exam stress, it's important to remind yourself that this is only a small part of your life, even though it might not feel like it at the time.
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Symptoms of exam stress may include:
· Losing touch with friends and the activities you enjoy.
· Feeling moody, low or overwhelmed.
· Having trouble making decisions.
· Losing your appetite or over eating.
· Sleeping poorly and struggling to get out of bed.
· Difficulty getting motivated to start studying.
· Tense muscles or headaches.
· Clammy hands or feeling butterflies in your stomach.
· A racing heartbeat or feeling sick.
· Nail biting or teeth grinding.
· Feeling confused, or having your mind going blank during the tests.
These symptoms can interfere with how much you enjoy life, especially around exam times.
Why you experience exam stress
Exam stress is normal and very common. You might experience it because:
· You are worried about how well you will do in the exam
· You find it hard to understand what you’re studying
· You feel unprepared or haven’t had time to study
· You need to learn and recall a large amount of information for an exam
· You feel pressure from your family to succeed
· You’re experiencing stress in another part of your life.
Managing exam stress
(1)Have a clean, quiet space to work, with ready access to any materials you need. Find out exactly what the exam involves–are there past exam papers you can look at to help you understand what to expect?
(2) Create a Mind Map, a diagram to help you visually organize information. Use it to collect ideas and summarize thoughts, and use bright colors to help remember important links.
(3) Make a clear plan of what you want to cover in each study period. Break it down into small tasks and work on one task at a time, so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
Practical ideas to help with study
· Go to bed at a reasonable time, eat regularly and make time to have fun and exercise.
· Cut back on energy drinks, coffee or any other stimulants as these can make you feel agitated; drink water instead.
· When you eat, relax and allow yourself time rather than carrying on with work.
· Avoid junk food–it provides a sudden burst of energy which will disappear, leaving you feeling worn out.
· Eat a well-balanced diet.
· Allow yourself time to rest.
· Stay focused on your study; try not to get distracted.
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· The night before check everything ready– water, calculators, pens, pencils, comfortable clothing etc.
· Eat a light breakfast–this will help with your energy and concentration.
· Make sure you know where you are going and how you plan to get there, and don’t forget your student ID or Roll no slip.
· Visit the toilet before your exam starts.
· If you’re getting anxious just before your exam, focus on your breathing.
· On exam day, stay away from people who may be feeling anxious or make unhelpful comments that increase your anxiety.
· Read through the exam paper carefully.
· Work on the questions that you find easiest first.
· Allow time before the end of the exam to re-read answers and make any necessary changes.
· Remember when you finish your exam, take time out to relax a bit before you start preparing for the next exam.
(The writer is a B.sc Student from GDC Udhampur. She can be reached at email@example.com)