Most of us have experienced the stress of exams. After weeks of instruction, at whatever level, the teacher is ready to assess the students’ learning. That is usually not stressful for the educator. For the student, it can be excruciating stress. It need not be, however.
Managing stress during exams is a skill that should be taught early. Refresher lessons should be taught regularly. Every student should learn that managing stress during exams is not difficult.
To become adept at managing stress during exams, students should learn several related skills.
- Set and reach study goals from the first day of class. Know what you should be learning. If it is unclear, talk to the instructor. Tell him or her that you are managing stress, and need to set goals.
- Organize time for sufficient study. It takes less time if you study on a regular basis. A little study each day is much more effective than a lot of study just before exams. Remember, you are managing stress by organizing.
- Review each week. Plan into your weekly schedule a time to review all you have studied in a course up to the present. It need not be an in-depth review. Simply go back over everything, fitting together the pieces of the puzzle.
- Two or three weeks before exams, lengthen your review time. Make intermediate demands on yourself, and your exams will not make such heavy demands.
- Remind yourself that stress is your response to the exams. If you are serious about managing stress, you must get serious about managing yourself.
- Add brisk walks or other exercise to your schedule as you approach exams. Take five minutes from every hour of study to stretch and breathe deep, relaxing breaths – vital to managing stress.
- The week before exams, make yourself get sufficient sleep each night, going to sleep and waking at the same times each day. Regular sleep and healthy food are both essential for managing stress.
- Cut down on social activities during the week of exams. Talk positively and energetically to yourself. Allot time for each subject you must study, and tackle your study with enthusiasm.
Your efforts at managing stress will come to your aid on examination day. You will have made small demands on yourself so that the exams cannot make too great a demand on you now.
Now take control, and respond with enthusiasm to the challenge of exams.