7 Tips to Combat Exam Stress and Anxiety
Students are often the most stressed the night before an exam, the crucial moment when they should not be feeling overwhelmed or pressured! Feeling anxious is a normal response when a daunting task is looming over you as you try to catch some rest. Thoughts like ‘Have I revised enough? What if I forget? Should I look at my notes again?’ It’s time to push these questions aside and use these tips to help you feel confident and in control:
1. Visualise your exam day positively
Picture yourself doing well, or finding the exam manageable after a hard day of revision. This increases your confidence and also reduces anxious feelings about the exam. Of course, there’s a fine line between imagination and delusion, so make sure you’re being realistic with your vision!
2. Recall your best performance
Think back on your previous tests where you did well – what strategy worked? Not only are you telling yourself that you are capable of tackling the exam questions, you’re also reflecting on your study habits and skills. What makes you recall information or answer better? How are you going to apply it tomorrow?
3. Think about your setbacks
You’re no stranger to tackling obstacles you encounter, even in your studies. Remind yourself of aspects that you have improved upon. Methods you tried out but didn’t work. These are all important learning experiences that made you who you are today. Keeping this in mind builds mental resilience.
4. Acknowledge your efforts
‘I didn’t study enough.’ is a common thought that crops up in a student’s mind. This happens because students don’t pay attention to the effort they have put in. The note taking, revision and time you put into studying are all valuable. While there is room to do better, don’t push what you’ve done aside.
5. Stop comparing yourself with others
What do you get from worrying about the student who scores 99% in Maths or the other student who aces every essay? Comparing yourself to others is a quick way to deflate anyone’s confidence, and doesn’t help at all. We’re all a work in progress, so focus on how far you’ve come instead.
6. Consider it a challenge
Seeing exams as a threat, or a be-all-end-all, is detrimental to your mental health and your own ability to answer the exam questions. Instead, reframe the exam to consider it as an opportunity to put your skills to the test. Doing so will calm you down and also teach you how to manage stressful situations.
7. Get good sleep
Students are no strangers to pulling all-nighters before exams. However, it’s proven that how much sleep you get the night before affects your academic performance. Insufficient sleep can also make you more susceptible to negative emotions such as anxiety and stress. So make sure you get enough rest before an exam.
Here’s some additional ideas for studying:
- Methods to study smarter not harder
- Manage your study time with the Pomodoro Technique
- Prioritise your learning and revision effectively
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