Stressed out about exams? Stress can show itself in many ways. Some of the common signs are your heart racing, stomach cramps, trouble sleeping, losing your appetite or overeating. Here’s some tips to help you chill out.
1. Start studying early
Start studying as soon as your teacher announces the exam. Even before that, read over your notes after each class to make sure you understand them. Put the notes in your own words.
You can prepare even more by thinking of questions that your teacher might ask on an exam. Write the questions down and answer them after your class is finished. This will make studying easier.
2. Have a plan to manage your time
Cramming all night doesn’t usually work. Plan your study time ahead so you’ll feel confident for the exam.
Plan to have enough time to study about 50 minutes at a time with five or 10-minute breaks. Have a snack, watch some TV or go for a walk. Study so you understand the material and not just to memorize it. Plan to study in a place where you can concentrate without distractions.
3. Be healthy
Studies show that taking the time to get some exercise and eating healthy improves performance on exams. So get out and get moving. When we’re stressed we sometimes want to eat junk food but eating healthy will actually make you feel better.
Also, get enough sleep – especially in the days before your exam. Good sleep helps you remember what you learned.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Ask your teacher for a practice test. If there isn’t one, make your own. Answer the questions with friends and grade each other’s work.
5. Chill out, try these relaxation techniques
Think about the stress you’re feeling. Write down your stressful thoughts.
Whenever a stressful thought pops into your head, replace it with a positive one. For example, replace “I’m going to fail this exam” with “I’m going to study early so I can ace this exam.”
Also, you may want to practice deep breathing. Take a few deep breaths, breathing from deep within your abdomen and not just your chest. Let them slowly out. This will get more air into your lungs and will help you relax.
6. Visualize success
This one might seem a little out there, but sometimes it helps to imagine success. Think of yourself writing the exam and knowing the answers. Visualize the A+ on the paper after writing the exam. When you imagine yourself being successful, you’re more likely to succeed. But don’t just visualize studying – you actually have to do it!
7. Talk to someone
If you find that you’re still stressed, talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a parent, teacher, school counsellor or friend. They will help you put things in perspective.
8. Taking the exam
Scan each page of the exam before starting to make sure you have all the questions. This will also help you decide how much time you’ll need to complete it.
Read all the instructions on the exam. Do the questions you can answer first to make sure you get the marks for them.
Pace yourself. Stay until the end of the exam in case you remember an answer. Go back, review your answers, and remember the relaxation techniques you learned. Breathe!