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Stress & Exam Time: 7 Tips for Ensuring Stress Doesn't Cause You to Fail

When students think about test time, the first word that comes to mind is usually 'Pressure!' While it is true that test time will not be a truly relaxing experience (not if you care about your decision, anyway), you can take steps to ensure that test time pressure helps, rather than impedes, your ability to pass.

This may sound strange, but remember that stress is not always a bad thing. In our article Stress & Performance, we talk about optimal stress levels. The closer to the optimal stress level, the better your performance. The trick is to determine your level, and not to overdo it, because once you do, your performance will start to rise quickly.

Too much stress around the test period can be seen as nothing more than an inability to focus on exam questions and forget about the material you know, you have learned, through headaches, cramps, nausea and shakes. Nothing will help you manage the good marks in the exam! So how do you manage your stress levels to make sure they don't get in the way?


Most students know that affecting the night before doesn't work and even schedule lessons first (and then follow through) - but somehow, we do! Start thinking about what you need to learn at least a few weeks (if not more) before the exam, and create a schedule for yourself. Use the checklists, and distribute each topic as soon as you close it. Try different learning techniques, and test yourself often to determine which one works best for you.


With so many studies to do (or perhaps to avoid doing), sleep is a regular victim of exam time. It's also one of the best allies for clear minds, so if you care about your exam results, make sure you don't let it slide. Aim to get at least 7 hours of the night in the weeks leading up to the exams (more if you feel tired - different bodies have different needs), and make sure you get the night before each test - even if your exams are not noon.


Perhaps more than any other year, nutrition levels are critical during testing. Our brain cannot function optimally if we do not provide them with enough nutrients they need. If you are on a calorie diet, consider taking a break during the test, and be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consider taking vitamin supplements if you haven't already taken them. If you're eating while you're studying, keep in mind that there are healthy fast food options available - it's just a matter of finding them. Eat something rich in complex carbohydrates an hour or two before you go to the test too to avoid blood sugar declines as you try to concentrate.

4 - Keep doing it

As exams get closer, it's easy to lock yourself in the library (or your room) and not go out for hours at a time. The problem is that when we stop moving, our brains become sluggish. If you want to make sure you take what you learn, it is important to get some form of exercise - even just walking around the block - at least once a day. And if you start to feel the symptoms of stress as you learn, try taking time for something more energetic.


There are several different relaxation methods available - how many are you trying? Meditation, listening to soothing music, hypnosis audio, relaxing essential oils, yoga, 'chin', hot (or cold) baths, journaling and walking everywhere are all possibilities. For more information on any of these, see the & # 39; Stress Resources & # 39; and 'Pressure Link' we; or type the terms you're interested in into your search engine of choice and see what appears


Before and during exams, oxygen is your friend! Focusing on deep breathing is a relaxation technique that you can use regularly during the time leading up to the exam, and it is also a great tool to give during the exam itself. When you are under pressure, it is natural for your breath to start accelerating and getting shallow. Don't let it go! Consciously take a deep, deep breath and watch yourself relax, and your mind begins to clear as you do.


Most training institutions have some form of student counseling available. Don't be afraid to use it - it's part of your student fees! If you are worried about approaching them (or if your school does not have counseling facilities), consider talking to a stress management coach. They are trained to help people deal with stress, and will be able to give you guidance and advice that you may not be able to access yourself.


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