Exams represent the kind of stressful situations that each and every one of us has been through since we have all been exposed to the education system at some point. Even a good and the well-prepared student is not safe from getting overly nervous during the exam. In fact, it is often the case that the stress doesn’t help us perform to our full potential at an exam, not the lack of preparation. Some of us just fall into some kind of a catatonic state and do not respond even to the simplest of questions that we surely know the right answers to. Thus, it is important to learn about how to deal with stress during exams.
In the midst of mid-term weeks and deadlines of assessments, here is a post on some useful tips on how to conquer your stress and not to let it get the best of you.
1. Knowledge Is Power.
Here, by knowledge, we mean the realization of the fact that you are suffering stress at the moment. Sometimes we just slide into this state of anxiety without noticing, and it takes a little effort to realize it. And just as with any other problem, the realization is the first step to overcoming. If you notice that you are stuck with your exam for no evident reason, take a look if you have any of the following symptoms:
- blackouts and having trouble concentrating;
- dry mouth;
- headache and nausea;
If you have these symptoms (hopefully, not all of them at once), then you know that you are suffering from anxiety. This knowledge is crucial for overcoming this sad state.
2. Oxygen Is Life.
Oxygen is vital for the proper functioning of a human brain. At times of stress, the accompanying spasms may compromise your normal regular breathing.
Here is what you need to do in such situation: take a slow deep breath through your nose, pause your breath for 2 seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times.
There is one more technique: close your eyes, inhale three times, hold your breath for a moment, then enjoy the exhalation. This one you may also want to repeat several times.
These techniques may also be helpful before the actual exam in order to avoid anxiety instead of waiting for it to come.
3. Haste Makes Wastes.
If a certain amount of time was allocated for a student to complete the exam, it means that you have enough time, and there is no need for an extreme rush.
When you stumble upon a question that is clearly taking too much of your time, remember that it is just one of the questions, and it’s no reason to get nervous. If possible, just skip it and leave it for later.
However, it does not mean that you should completely lose your track of time. Keep your eye on the clock, and about 10 minutes before the time is up, take some time to look through your answers once again, return to that lousy question that you skipped.
4. Move Your Body.
It is useful to give your body a little bit of motion instead of just sitting still. When you sit still, your chances for a stupor increase. Stretch your legs and arms, move your shoulders. In fact, chewing gum is also a good idea.
If it is allowed, ask your instructor if you can take a break. Go to the bathroom or have a glass of water. Even if you don’t really want to, mere walking will do you good.
Getting your muscles busy from time to time is very good for your blood circulation, and this helps to release the anxiety plus deal with stress during exams.
5. There’s No Harm In Asking.
If you find yourself stuck with a certain question or issue, raise your hand and ask your instructor. Nothing bad will happen. Even if the instructor does not answer your question – directly or indirectly (to avoid giving you an advantage over other students), you will get a little bit of a distraction that you do need at the moment.
Besides, as discussed before, the very motion of raising your hand and putting it down is good for your blood circulation.
Overall, exams are indeed important (otherwise, you wouldn’t need to pass them, right?) and they do need to be taken seriously. And yet, you shouldn’t let it get to you. It is useful to treat them with a certain degree of lightheartedness. After all, it is just one exam. A single exam seldom has a great effect. One exam may be important, but it’s only one of the many parts of your education. And its part in building your future is even smaller.
Remember that doing well at exams does not guarantee you a happy life. And neither does poor performance condemn you to a life of misery. Surely, your future employer will most likely be pleased to see your good grades, but there are so many more things that count. Stress-resistance, for example. As a matter of fact, going through stressful situations and dealing with them is an exam in itself. And it is indeed an important part of the exam experience as such.
Through the course of your independent life after graduation, you will most surely have to face much more serious situations than a little exam. Should you happen to fail, the consequences may be much more drastic. Such situation will naturally bring huge amounts of stress. But now that you know how to conquer your stress and anxiety, it will help you deal with such situations and avoid failing.
Overcoming anxiety and dealing with stressful situations is an extremely important skill. Its value is hard to overestimate. We do hope that these small tips will be of help to you deal with stress during exams.
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This is an article written by one of our amazing contributors Richard Nolan.