Quick Exam Stress Techniques
Most of us don’t like exams or tests, but sometimes the stress of taking an exam can overwhelm us and it impacts on our every day life and the exam itself.
These Quick Exam Stress Techniques can help you in the lead up to the exams and on the day, so that you are able to do the best that you can do.
You may also find our Quick Calming Techniques helpful, if you are feeling anxious about any exam or test.
It’s easy to say and think negative things about ourselves, like “I’m no good at Maths”, “I always mess things up”, “I know I’m going to fail”, “It’s all pointless – my memory is rubbish”. But these words become beliefs and the more you say/think them, the more that you will believe they are true. And negative beliefs are not going to help you revise or pass an exam.
Instead, why not believe that you can do it? Let’s turn those negative thoughts and beliefs into positive ones.
So, before you start revising, when you are starting to feel doubt, when you wake up, and before you go to sleep, say these to yourself:
I will thrive under pressure
I am good at revising
I will succeed under pressure
I have all the skills and knowledge that I need
I will be relaxed and focused
I am going to be happy with my results
I am well prepared
Exams are easy for me
I believe in myself
You can even put your favourite one on your phone as a screensaver to remind yourself that you are capable of achieving so much.
Exam and test results don’t define you. They don’t change who you are. They don’t make you a better or worse person. And they will not define the rest of your life.
No matter how your exam goes, you can still achieve whatever your goal is.
(I’ll let you into a secret – I completely messed up my A Level English exam and still became an English teacher. I may have had to go a different route to the one that I had planned to, but I still made it.)
So, don’t stress too much about exams and tests. Do your best and know that it is just a number/grade – you are so much more than that and friends, family and employers will see your personality, not just a number/grade.
Focus on how far you have come already. Look back a couple of years and you will realise how amazing well you have done up to now. You have achieved so much to this point, and so you will continue to do, no matter which way things will go.
3. SMALL STEPS
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the amount that you need to learn or revise, just do one small thing. If you do nothing, you will will stay feeling overwhelmed.
It doesn’t matter how small the step is, just take one. Each step is one closer to your success.
Here are a few ideas to get you moving, one small step at a time:
- Pick up a highlighter and highlight key words in your notes.
- Organise your notes into topics.
- Read a chapter of a text book.
- Draw a mindmap of what you already know – you will probably be surprised.
- Put a post-it note on the important pages of your text book.
You won’t make it if you don’t take action. So, take a step towards your goal.
4. SELF CARE
It’s so important to look after yourself when preparing for exams or tests. Not taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, can negatively impact on your exams as you will be tired, stressed and nervous.
Instead, use some of these self care techniques to be at your peak for the challenges ahead:
- Take a break every 30 minutes and make sure that move away from books and screens in this time. Go to a different room, talk to someone, have a shower, or make a healthy snack.
- Have a relaxing bath with some salts, that will help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Light aromatherapy candles while you are revising to calm your mind. Try lavender, jasmine or ylang ylang.
- Stretching can help to reduce feelings of stress and nerves. Stretch both arms up above your head and move your head from side to side. Or stretch out your legs by doing some squats.
- Staying hydrated and eating nutritious foods has been proven to aid memory and brain power, so have a healthy snack or drink to increase your mental abilities. You could try fruit tea instead of caffeinated tea to help you to feel calm and relaxed.
- Listening to music can help with calming anxiety and, some find it also helps them to concentrate on their study. Music is certainly linked to emotions, so choose music that makes you feel relaxed.
- Get outside and do some exercise. It doesn’t matter whether it is walking, jogging, cycling or dancing – any form of exercise will help to reduce exam stress as well as giving you a break.
Look after yourself and you will have a better chance of doing your best.