Tag Archives: exams

Don’t be scared, be prepared

Some stress is good for you, like eating brussel sprouts. And some level of stress is necessary and important, like having a root canal. It won’t seem so at the time, but the right amount of stress can extend your life. It focuses your mind, builds your immune system and gives you a sense of purpose. Even exam stress.
Here are some useful strategies to cope with the pressure of tests and exams:
1. Plan ahead – before you start studying make an I-survived-last-time list of occasions on which you survived or overcame pressure. This settles your fears and promises you will cope again.
2. Look at the big picture first: make a mind map or summary of work sections or chapter headings or aspects of a novel. Seeing a whole structure on one page reduces the scale of something huge to something manageable.
3. Avoid short-term energy enhancers such as energy drinks or endless cups of coffee – you get a short burst of energy followed by a long trough of lethargy.
4. Train like a soldier by developing strategies and routines in advance – learn specific essay structures, begin answers with key words from questions, circle instruction words. These are the little routines that equip soldiers to operate under duress.
5. Reward yourself – if you have a full day to study, schedule a break to watch your favourite TV programme that evening. This creates urgency and sets up the anticipation of something pleasant later.
6. Take care of your physical well-being. Eat healthily and keep up a regular exercise schedule. Exam-time is not a good enough excuse for junk-food and sweet binges.
7. Sleep is essential. Research shows that an adequate night’s sleep consolidates memory and enhances performance the following day. In relation to exams you are probably going to benefit far more from going to bed and sleeping than from desperately cramming through the night.
8. Have appropriate expectations of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people and try to resist external pressure on you to meet up to unrealistic standards. Base your own expectations on the best you think you can do, and in relation to your own previous performance and preparation.
9. Finally, keep things in perspective. While some stress is important, excessive levels of anxiety over exams will certainly be counterproductive

Advertisements