What is exam stress?
Stress can be defined as a person’s reaction to pressure. Exam stress is the feeling of pressure that many young people feel when there is a lead up to exams. Generally, during the ‘revision’ period before the exam right up until the actual sitting of the exam, feelings of exam stress are present.
Before the exam
- Begin revision early! Many students make the mistake of leaving it until the last minute to start studying. If you begin early, compiling your notes into easy to read points, diagrams or flashcards then it will be a lot easier to revise them again when it comes to the immediate lead up to the exam.
- Have a routine that suits you: everyone is different, try to figure out early on in your revision which time of day, and where you do your best study, whether it be your home, school, or library. Try to establish whether you are someone who does their best work alone or in a group (if this is the case then try to find a group or an individual who is the same and form a study group!)
- Give yourself plenty of time to create and establish a game plan! Taking an exam is a lot like playing a football match. You wouldn't walk onto a pitch without having done a lot of training and preparing a game plan. Experts in the fields of stress management all agree that healthy eating and regular exercise are key factors when it comes to targeting stress. Getting yourself into a healthy routine early on in your revision will prevent that exam stress from becoming too much when it comes to the exam itself.
Immediate lead up
- Practice! Get your initial nerves out of the way. Practice as many past exam questions as possible to really get a handle of how the exam is going to be presented on the day, you don’t want to waste any time on getting to grips with the layout on the day!
- Ask your parents, friends, teachers, and tutor (anyone and everyone) to go over flashcards with you, studies show you will remember a lot more when you speak out loud rather than reading in your head!
Day of the exam
- Relax & Let your hard work and preparation do the talking: At this stage an all-night cramming session can do more harm than good. Try to get a good night sleep before the exam so that you are rested and ready to write down all that information you've learned.
Stress affects us all in different ways and can be really debilitating if not dealt with correctly. So try out some of the above tips and don’t let exam stress win!