A certain amount of nerves in the run up to big events like exams or coursework deadlines is natural. It’s the body’s natural response to stress and is designed to assist us in dealing with the situation ahead.
But how do you stop those nerves from turning into undue stress and anxiety which can begin impacting on other areas of your life?
Here are some tips to help you stay calm and focused during your exams, and most importantly to keep it in perspective.
One of the key stress factors in the run up to exams is the feeling of not being in control, for example, thinking there’s not enough time to revise properly or that you’re bound to fail no matter what you do.
A good way to avoid this is to prepare early. Why not make a revision timetable to fit in your studying around the other things going on in your life – it’s important that this includes some wind down time too, to be protected at all costs.
Viewing exam preparation as one big task can seem overwhelming, so break it up into smaller manageable chunks. Schedule revision for times when you tend to feel at your most productive.
Revising for too long in one stretch can be counter-productive, so take plenty of short breaks where you move away from your desk. Taking exercise is a great way to clear your head for a while. Reward yourself for a good study session by making dates to see friends.
Avoid fatigue by eating well with a diet packed full of slow-release carbs such as wholemeal bread, rice, pasta with lots of fruit and veg. Too much caffeine can make you feel more nervous so drink plenty of water and try swapping your cup of coffee for herbal tea or hot chocolate.
Head outdoors for a walk or short run for an easy way to de-stress and clear your thoughts in the fresh air. Try to get eight hours sleep a night – you might find these tips for a better night’s rest useful to help you unwind.
The better you feel about yourself, the less stress you’ll feel during your exams. It’s easy to forget your skills and talents, how far you’ve come and how much you’ve already achieved in life. When experiencing a negative thought, swap it for a positive one.
Try some mindfulness techniques [INCLUDE LINK TO MINDFULNESS BLOG WHEN LIVE] such as breathing exercises or listening to relaxing music. And most importantly, simply believe in yourself.
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, make sure you discuss your concerns with someone. Speak to your friends, family or a tutor to gain advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s much better to talk to someone than bottle up your emotions and speaking with someone else can help you to put the cause of your stress into perspective.
And finally, just remember that exams aren’t everything. Yes, they are important, but you’re so much more than your exam results. And besides, there are millions of successful and contented people out there who failed their exams! Keeping this in perspective can help you to remain calm as you get through your exam period.
Written by the Nurtur team