January 13, 2019, by Anjni
Keeping Calm During Exams
With the wonderfully festive Christmas season having come and gone all too soon, exam season is all but upon us. Students everywhere are knee-deep in revision as they prepare to sit their exams and tensions are running high, as they do during this month, as people all but freak out in anticipation. And this is normal, it’s natural to feel a little anxious in the lead up to exams, however worrying too much can sometimes do you more harm than good, causing you to falter or make mistakes that you otherwise wouldn’t have. When we’re nervous, our bodies equate that to a threat, and our fight or flight mechanisms kick in. Whilst useful in life-threatening situations, we are unable to use this to heroically battle or physically flee from our exams, and our ability to think logically is greatly dampened because of it. That said, there are ways in which to keep these nerves at bay and stay calm throughout this period so that you can truly perform to the best of your ability come exam day.
Forever an advocate for positive thinking, this one is pretty high on my list of effective measures. Of course, I realise it’s much easier said than done – especially during this trying period – but honestly it works. I’m not saying that you have to be super happy and peppy all the time, but you should be confident in your abilities and strengths and be able to know that you’ve given it your all. Sounds silly, but being your own hype-man can do WONDERS in that exam hall.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Another thing that’s sure to help this exam season; catching those zzz’s is crucial in allowing you to perform well not only on the day, but in the lead up as well. It’s recommended we get 7-8 hours (although this varies person to person) is essential for appropriate function day to day, and especially so during exams. A well-rested mind is a sharper mind, and you’ll find that with sufficient amounts of sleep, you’ll be able to better retain the information and, in general, you’ll just feel fresher and more able to take on challenges, i.e.: a two-hour written paper on the history of genetics (or whatever exciting paper it is that you’re sitting that day).
Take Time to Unwind and Relax
Whilst you may be up to your eyeballs in work and worry, it’s necessary that you take time for yourself to unwind during this period and reward yourself every now and again during this study period. Meet friends, go for a walk – get in that exercise! – bury your head in a book (novels, short stories, poetry collections – NOT those pesky textbooks) or anything that will give you joy and relieve those pre-exam nerves. Recognise that you DO work hard, and that it’s okay to indulge in a break once in a while, in fact you’ll be better for it. Studying too much without a break, paired with feelings of excessive worry or stress, can cause you to wear yourself out even before you enter the exam hall, and can terrible effects on your performance. Pushing yourself to soldier on without the breaks or the me-time may work for some, but not for others; we’re all different and rewarding yourself with it from time to time doesn’t make you any less off.
When calm, we are able to analytically process and evaluate information far better than we can when we’re anxious, hence the right state of mind is extremely important in ensuring that we can perform to the best of our abilities on the day. Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t experience any nerves if you follow these ideas, like I said before a little worry is completely natural, it’s just that you shouldn’t let it eat you up, especially during the exam. And whilst examinations are important, they are not the be all and end all of the world, so if you do find yourself wracked with tremendous worry, just remember not to be too hard on yourself. I wish you all the very best of luck for the upcoming two weeks!