Exam stress; everyone feels anxious and nervous in the days leading up to exams – we’ve all been there. Trouble is that exam anxiety can have disastrous side effects like lack of sleep, headaches, stomach aches, and an inability to concentrate. This means that you aren’t resting or eating properly and that means you aren’t performing at your peak. Exam anxiety may lead you to fulfill your worst case scenarios.
Just like a professional athlete trains, eats well and gets plenty of rest before a big game, doing well in school is like training for your brain. That means you need to put in the practice leading up to the exams—leaving things to the last minute will only contribute to your exam stress.
Next you need to feed your brain. Your brain needs whole grains, protein, fruits and veggies so follow a healthy diet and get tons of exercise; living off gummy bears and energy drinks will mean your blood sugar levels crash right in the middle of the exam. When this happens, your ability to focus and concentrate is impaired as are your higher cognitive functions. Fuel your brain to perform at your peak.
Here are some of the best exam stress busters:
Study! I know this is obvious, but being prepared and not leaving everything to the last minute will mean that you feel more confident and will keep those exam blues at bay.
Be positive: Don’t listen to any of those little voices in your head whispering; “you can’t do it”. If you think that it’s too hard, then it will be. Keep telling yourself you can do it and encourage yourself to try. Congratulate yourself on those things you do well and be your own inner cheerleader.
Move it! Exercise is one of the best stress relievers and the perfect antidote to all that desk time. Go for a walk, a swim or a run or just have a ten minute dance party to get the juices flowing.
On exam day:
Get plenty of sleep the night before. It may seem like a good idea to stay up and study, but the law of diminishing returns means that not getting enough sleep seriously reduces your ability to retain information and deal with stress. You will retain more and perform better if you are well rested.
Ok, so you already know that you need to start the day with a really great breakfast. A well-balanced healthy meal will help you to focus and do your best.
Stay hydrated; drink lots of water and go easy on the soda and coffee.
Leave plenty of time to get to the exam so you aren’t rushing. If your friends are stressing out before the exam, then keep to yourself and listen to that positive inner voice.
Start with the easy questions first. That will give you the confidence you need to tackle the more challenging ones.
When the exam is over, have a rest and then go and do something fun; nothing relieves anxiety like a good laugh.Pic by hackNY