Handling exam stress

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Only by hearing the word examination, one could feel anxiety and stress. Examinations are conducted to test our learning throughout the year. The stress related to it at times gets so intense that the individual is not able to perform well in it and it might happen that even after knowing the answer to the question he or she might feel confused and stuck.

Exam stress affects students in various ways. It is important to manage this stress and find ways of helping to eliminate the risk of burnout. For some students, exams can be a breeze; revision is second nature to them and they could ace an exam with their eyes closed. But for others, sweaty palms and heart palpitations are just a part of the territory, and it seems that nothing is more impossible than sitting down and revising.

Exams can feel like a lot of pressure. You might need certain grades for a course or job or your parents, carers or teachers might be putting pressure on you. You might be putting lots of pressure on yourself as well. No matter where the pressure is coming from, there are ways to help you cope:

Think positively.

Be honest about how you feel.

Do not compare yourself to your friends.

Let yourself stress out.

Take regular breaks and schedule in recreation and relaxation.

Exercise and get 15 minutes walk daily.

Avoid negative people.

Speak to someone you share a bonding.

Here are 10 quite easy ways that can help you with you examination stress:

  • Watch a film, a TV show or listen to a podcast or comedian that makes you laugh. Be careful about the amount of time you spend watching television. Guard yourself against over entertainment.
  • Drink some herbal tea or a hot chocolate. It is a well-known fact that hot drinks soothe the soul (avoid too much caffeine though).
  • A shower or a bath can help relieve stress.
  • Cook or bake something. Just the thought of having something delicious to eat can bring you joy. As a bonus side note, try and cook something healthy too, for a healthy mind resides in a healthy body.
  • Get adequate sleep. The virtues of a good night's sleep during exam season should not be underestimated.
  • Keep things in perspective. Yes, exams are important, but your well-being is so much more important than your exam results.
  • Avoid overstressed people around you.
  • Avoid the exam "post-mortem". You don't need to know how other people fared in the exam. You've done your best, you can't go back and change your answers, so the minute you step out of the examination hall, focus on your next exam.
  • Be flexible. Having a revision time table is one of the best tools.
  • Write down everything you feel like you need to do and try and tick one thing off. Just the act of feeling like you are in control of your revision can help.

You can be completely prepared, but just in case the anxiety comes in, here are some quick methods to overcome it.

Take a deep breath:

  • Hold it for three seconds
  • Exhale audibly all at once and let your head, jaw and shoulders drop
  • Breathe easy into your neck, jaw and shoulders and breathe again into the relaxed state
  • Repeat cycle once or twice

Total tension release (can be done lying down or sitting):

  • Focus on your whole body, one part at a time
  • Tightly close your eyes
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds
  • Let your breath and the tension in your body go all at once.
  • Feel the tension leave your body
  • Breathe easily and enjoy the relaxation
  • Do this whenever you need a quick relaxing break.


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