Tips to beat exam stress

Well, it’s finally here – it’s exam time, and the period of maximum stress for students, but it’s not all bad news! If managed well, stress can actually be a positive force, and can help you improve your exam performance. It’s only when we let it overwhelm us that exam stress becomes a problem.

Here are some tips to beat exam stress:

  • Plan ahead: Write down your revision plan and allocate time for each subject, but leave some slack in your timetable.
  • Prioritise: Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth – yes, even for females
  • Say No: Don’t allow your time to be wasted through other people’s demands
  • Sleep well: Burning the midnight oil the night before an exam will not help, getting a proper night’s sleep will
  • Beat procrastination: Having “too much to do” can make starting difficult. Cut your work into bite-size chunks
  • Rest: Take a break after each task. Get up from your desk; stretch; walk around; get some fresh air; have a glass of water
  • Eat: Don’t neglect your body. A good food intake is essential for healthy brain function
  • Watch out for perfectionism: You can’t get EVERYTHING right. No-one can. Being too demanding will make everything harder
  • Focus: Before you begin each task, take a moment to sit quietly in an upright position. Close your eyes and place your hands lightly on your tummy. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth ten times slowly and steadily, feeling your hands move. After each breathe, say to yourself “I’m here, now”
  • Reward: After each task, reward yourself with something nice. An interesting variation is to use “Reward Points”. Save them up for an end-of-term prize to yourself
  • Relax: Make sure you have adequate “down-time”. A ten-minute break can work wonders. Lie down (or recline) with your head supported. Begin to “scan” your body from your head down through your neck, shoulders, back, arms, hands, tummy, hips, thighs, calves ankles, feet. At each point, tense then release the muscles in that area three times

Good luck!