HOW TO BEAT EXAM STRESS ?
Examinations are daunting but it’s mostly due to being unprepared or unsure of what the exams will bring – being prepared to deal with the challenges of taking exams can definitely ease the worries that any student may have. With proper planning and strategic preparations, the process can greatly improve your efficacy, building your self-confidence and developing a strategic action plan to approach your exams. During this time, it is vital to understand how much you have studied rather than how long you have studied. In the following you’ll find tips to prepare for, and deal with exams efficiently to minimize stress.
TIPS FOR THE REVISION STUDY PERIOD
There’s a saying of “to be prepared is half the victory”- If you’re well prepared, and stepping into the exam hall with confidence aplenty, taking the exams would be a breeze of fresh air. Here are some pointers to help you to be more efficient and productive with your exams preparation.
- Leave plenty of time to revise so that you do not have to do last minute cramming. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.
- Develop a timetableso that you can track and monitor your progress. Allow time for fun and relaxation.
- Take a short break as soon as you notice your mind is losing concentration, but do not get distracted.
- Experiment with alternative revision techniques. If you keep doing the same thing repetitively, for example, reading over your notes on a certain subject, is likely to be quite dull. Spice up your revision period by trying on different exercises and techniques. Alternatives to reading your notes over include:
- doing practice papers and questions to test your own understanding
- drawing mind maps or other summary diagrams to test what you can remember, and then checking them against your notes.
- Notice where you have left out details, or if there are gaps, and go back and review those areas.
- Do not drink too much coffee, tea or fizzy drinks; the caffeine will make your thinking less clear.
- Regular moderate exercisewill boost your energy, clear your mind, reduce feelings of stress and help you sleep better.
- Eat well! A proper diet can help you feel energised and prepared. Your brain will need more fuel as you work it harder. An empty stomach can’t focus!
- Sleep! To absorb your learning, the brain will need to rest and sleep. You are not a machine. Make sure that you get sufficient rest.
PROVEN EXAM TIPS TO OVERCOME STRESS
Examinations are not just testing how much a student know, it is also testing a student’s problem solving skills. Some of the tips below may seem insignificant but it goes a long way in helping students tackle problems wisely, thus reducing stress:
- Practice past papers:
- Understand how you approach a question in an exam
- how you structure your answer
- note the timings you should assign and
- what information is required to get you the marks
- Read all questions carefully
- By reading the questions carefully you plan your answer out and will ensure you make the right choices and can highlight how much you know about the topic
- Manage your time
- You need to be strict on yourself.
- Once you have assuaged a time limit for each questions, you MUST move on once you hit it or you will not be able to give the next question your full attention.
- Structure your Answer
- Don’t just jump into writing your answer
- Take the first few minutes to plan the structure of your essay, which will save you time when you are delving into meaty parts.
- Always stay on topic
- Explore both sides of an argument
- Many questions you approach will look as though they seek a straightforward answer but in reality they want you to fully outline a structured essay.
- Don’t fall into the trap of providing a one-sided view.
- Review Your answers thoroughly
- Smart students can still make the mistake of handing their answer book in without checking through what they have written.
- Proofread your answers as much as you can to correct any spelling mistakes and add any extra comments you think are worth mentioning
At the end of the day, understand that these exams do not define you. It is just a small obstacle and you will get through it. Exams can be a very stressful time for any student, so remember to watch out for each other and if you see someone who might need help have a quick chat.
(Source: James Cook University Singapore)