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EXAM STRESS – Tips and Reminders
Exam Stress is normal – DON’T PANIC!
Understand how stress affects me. These things are typical:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling breathless
- Dry mouth
- Feeling restless or jittery
- Upset stomach
- Headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain
- Being more irritable or angry than normal
- Difficulty sleeping
- Thinking about the worst outcome
What can I do?
- Take ten slow, deep breaths. Focus on breathing out as slowly as possible until the lungs are completely empty – then allow them to refill by themselves.
- Notice where your mind is focussed.
- Ask: Is this helpful to be thinking about right now?
- If not then practice refocussing your mind back onto your work.
- Remind myself of what I want to achieve and why it’s important to me. Write it down – put it somewhere I can read it.
- Say kind things to yourself about you – Encourage yourself!
- Make sure you make time to rest and get the amount of sleep you need to feel good.
- Try to go to sleep at around the same time each night – you will find it easier to get to sleep.
- Don’t study too late at night – your brain won’t work as well and you won’t learn as much
- Stay away from food and drink with sugar or caffeine in it at night – it will keep you awake!
GENERAL STUDY TIPS
Try not to do too much studying at one time.
- If you try to do too much studying at one time, you’ll get tired and your studying will not be very effective. Space the work you have to do over shorter periods of time. Taking short breaks will restore your mental energy.
Make a plan
- Schedule specific times throughout the week for your study time – include scheduled breaks.
Try to study at the same times each day
- Studying at the same times each day establishes a routine that becomes a regular part of your life, just like sleeping and eating. When a scheduled study time comes up during the day, you will be mentally prepared to begin studying.
Start studying when planned.
- You may delay starting because you don’t like a subject or think it’s too hard. A delay in studying is called “procrastination.” If you procrastinate for any reason, you will find it difficult to get everything done when you need to. You may rush to make up the time you wasted getting started, resulting in careless work and errors.
Avoid things that might distract me
- Lots of things can be external distractions – especially from our devices! Here’s a simple idea – turn off your phone during your study times and avoid the internet. Where possible choose a space to study that is quiet and comfortable.
Make sure you know your exam schedule
- Organise your study schedule to your exam schedule. Plan how you are going to get to the exam and make sure you leave plenty of time – better to get there early and practice breathing, rather than turn up late and be frantic!
Ask for help! Call another student or ask a teacher when you need some input.
- This is a case where “two heads may be better than one”
IN THE EXAM
- Answer the questions you find easiest first. Come back to the others later.
- If you’re not sure, don’t spend more than a minute or two thinking about it before moving on. Come back to it later.
- As you work on a section, keep track of how much time remains. (It’s a good idea to bring a reliable watch)
- Answer every question. There is no penalty for guessing.
- In multi-choice, consider all answer choices before you choose one. Use a process of elimination to narrow your choices.