Make a plan of what you want to work on in each study session. Break it down into small tasks and work on one task at a time.
What does exam stress look like?
People might experience physical symptoms, like trouble sleeping, feeling sick in the stomach, headaches and muscle tension, and fidgeting, nail-biting and teeth grinding.
Exam stress can also be mental or emotional, like feeling confused, being irritable, feeling overwhelmed, lacking motivation and withdrawing from family, friends and things you normally enjoy.
Why do people experience exam stress?
Worry they might fail
Don't feel prepared
Want to do really well
Don’t have much time to study
Need to get a certain result
Don’t think they will do well
Find it hard to understand what they’re studying
Feel pressure from family to get good marks
Feel they need to compete with others
Have other things happening in their life
What’s your study style?
Did you know that your different ‘thinking style’ can affect how you learn and best study?
When we asked our Insta followers, “What’s your thinking style?”
- 57% of you think in words (I.e. have an ‘inner voice’ or ‘talk to yourself’ in your thoughts)
- 43% of you think in sensations (e.g. images in your ‘mind’s eye’, or other sensations like smells, feelings, etc)
How can I figure out my thinking style?
- Close your eyes and imagine your favourite food
- Remember what you did yesterday
- Imagine your favourite song
If you talk to yourself as you think of your fave food, and what you did yesterday, and think of the lyrics of your fave song, you’re most likely a word thinker.
If you see your fave food and memories, and hear the beat of your fave song, you’re most likely a sensation thinker.
(Yep, you can definitely be both!)
Tips to help while studying
Try these tips and tricks:
Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the time we consolidate working memory into short term memory, and short-term memory into long term memory. Don’t skip sleep to study!
Make it competitive, or give yourself mini rewards once you achieve your study goals.
Keep study sessions short - you remember the most info in the first 15 mins and last 15 mins of studying. Big, long study sessions might make you feel like you’re working hard – but studying in short bursts makes it easier to start, and helps you remember more.
Work with a friend, and ‘explain’ the things you need to remember to each other. Explaining it to someone else can help you make sense of and remember complex info.
Look after yourself – make sure you eat nutrient rich foods, do exercise, spend time with family and friends and do things you enjoy in order to de-stress.
Keep stuff in perspective. Exams carry a lot of pressure and it’s easy to ‘catastrophise’ about exam results. If you don’t do as well as you hope, there are so many different ways to achieve your future study and work goals.
Ask for help from a teacher if you need to.
Ideas for exam day
Here are some tips to help exam day go smoothly:
- Work out what you need to take with you on exam day and organise this the night before.
- Go to the toilet before the exam starts.
- If you feel yourself getting worried before your exam - spend some time focusing on your breathing.
- When you sit down to do your exam, take time to slow your breathing and relax.
- Read through the exam paper carefully. Underline key words and instructions.
- Work out how long you have for each question or section.
- Aim to have time to re-read answers through and to make any changes.
- Work on the questions that you find easiest first. You don’t have to go in order.
Remember passing an exam is only part of the story. There’s always a second chance or another way to reach your goals
If you’re feeling stressed about exams, you’re not alone.
Talking to someone and finding ways to cope during exam time can help.
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