How to Reduce Exam Stress
How To Reduce Exam Stress - Examinations can be a cakewalk for certain students; revision is part of the routine for them, and they can score in an exam without feeling burdened. For others, a racing heart and blurry eyes are unavoidable, and nothing seems as unachievable as sitting down and starting to revise. All they wonder about is how to reduce anxiety and stress during exams.
A certain amount of stress can be beneficial as it can provide the inspirational drive you need to complete the tasks. Dealing with higher levels of stress can be tough at times, especially during exams. With a 20-50% yearly increase rate in the number of students needing assistance for study-related psychological issues, it is evident that students are under more stress than ever before, and need to learn how to overcome exam stress.
Discussed below are some strategies on how to overcome exam stress, and how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams. Stay on this page to know more!
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Get Organized
Organise your study, start by determining the basics, such as:
- which subjects you have exams for;
- how the scores will be distributed, and
- what all you'll need to study for each exam.
It will be easier for you to prioritise if you separate the higher-scoring sections of the syllabus from the lower-scoring ones.
Make a plan for your revision by breaking it down into manageable portions. Make sure you have enough spare time to relax and decompress. Similarly, don't get too worked up if you get a little behind schedule. This will help you in understanding how to overcome exam stress.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Take Mock Tests
Mock tests are practice exams that students take before taking their actual exam, in order to evaluate their amount of preparation. It assists you in remaining cool during the examination and familiarises you with the exam format. It also lets you know how to get the highest possible score on an exam. Following a few mock tests, you'll be able to identify your weak spots and you can then work on them. It boosts your self-esteem and alleviates exam anxiety. By taking regular mock tests, you can learn how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Seek Support
Revision with peers is a good study approach since it allows students to grasp their own lessons better. Furthermore, one of the emotional benefits of social support is a greater sense of self-assurance and independence. However, you must refrain from making unhealthy comparisons with your peers, since it might aggravate anxiety.
If you're scared or tense, talk to someone you trust. This will help you in understanding how to overcome exam stress. It helps to get it out of your head, and they may be able to assist you in developing practical exam stress management skills. Also, try and communicate with your parents to ensure that both of your expectations are aligned with each other.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- De-stress
Spending some time to de-stress will not only help you feel relaxed, but also rejuvenated and ready to tackle the exam preparations that await you the next day. You could indulge in any activities that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, cooking a meal or baking, watching a funny movie, and so on. You must schedule your time table in a way that you have some leisure time to de-stress and indulge in these activities.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Conquer Negative Thoughts
Students often catastrophize and start assuming the worst while under exam pressure. These thoughts might become a hurdle in smooth preparation. While it is natural for human beings to think about negative possibilities, if feeling too overwhelmed with thoughts about the worst case scenario occurring, it might be a good idea to quantify your worry.
For eg. Ask yourself what are the chances (in percentage) of the worst case scenario occurring. Quantifying your worry might help you feel more in control, and understand how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Healthy Lifestyle
Certain foods can improve concentration, memory, and metabolic rate, as well as overall wellbeing. Snack on walnuts, cottage cheese, apricots, dried fruits, cereals, dairy, and yogurt instead of sugar-rich meals. Memory retention, mental attentiveness, and energy levels have all been shown to improve by eating these protein-rich products.
Start setting minor exercise goals and stick to them. For at least 30 minutes a day, engage in some type of physical activity like jogging or biking. Exercising releases ‘endorphins’, i.e. happiness hormones, thereby making one feel relaxed. Exercising is thus one of the most underrated, yet effective answers to how to overcome exam stress.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Take Proper Sleep
A lot of students stay up late at night to prepare for exams. While on the surface, it seems like a good way to prepare fast, research says it is essential to take proper sleep at night for optimum performance in exams, and knowing how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams. Some tips for maintaining a proper sleep routine are-
Every day, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. This improves the synchronization of your body's sleep cycle and improves sleep quality.
Rather than watching TV or using the phone until you sleep, try listening to calming music or reading a motivational book.
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How To Reduce Exam Stress- Progress, Not Perfection
Perfectionists are people who attach excessive importance to attaining their highly set goals, suffer with rejection and criticism, and may feel compelled to excel at everything they do. Being a perfectionist often results in unnecessary stress. Here are some strategies for dealing with how to overcome exam stress by focusing on progress rather than perfectionism:
- Rather than chasing the unattainable, set reasonable goals.
- Acknowledge both small and big achievements.
- Keep some time for doing things you enjoy. It could be cooking, gardening, listening to music, or anything that helps you de-stress.
- Use adjectives like "acceptable" and "fair," instead of using "perfect"
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Whether or not we enjoy taking exams, they are an indispensable part of most students’ lives. While they might seem like a burden to many students, exams are the first little challenges we face in life. More than considering them a race and focussing on who wins, parents and students should rather see exams as learning outcomes. The above article is our little attempt to help you understand how to reduce stress and anxiety during exams. Hope it helps you bring out the best performer in you!
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Somya is a psychologist, having keen interest research and academics. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D from IIS, Jaipur.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - How to Reduce Exam Stress
Question: What type of leisure activities should be avoided during exams?
Watching lengthy web-series, using the phone/social media just before going to bed, participating in potentially dangerous sports, etc.
Question: How can I study stress-free for exams?
Clean your workstation, create a time-table, take short breaks and meditate frequently.
Question: What can exam stress lead to?
This can have a significant impact on your capacity to prepare for exams and tests, as well as your performance and sense of well-being.
Question: How do you know if you are under exam stress?
Signs of exam stress are- getting irritated, annoyed, and grumpy easily. Feeling helpless, as if you're losing control and having trouble quieting your mind.