Stress and nerves can be a good thing for a short period of time. They let us know that we have something important coming up, they tell us that an upcoming event or challenge means a lot to us; so do not ignore these feelings. Stress can help motivate you to get to work and prepare thoroughly.
Too much stress can be harmful to you in the long run. This is often known as ‘chronic stress’ which is detrimental to performance and health. If you have feelings of stress for a long period of time, such as weeks or months, it is a good idea to learn the symptoms and fight back.
What are the symptoms of stress?
There are many different symptoms associated with long-term stress. If you feel, or spot in someone else, 2 or 3 of these problems over a prolonged period then it is time to start putting in place systems to reduce the effects.
- Bad sleep habits
- Reduced appetite
- Constant anxiety
- High heart rate
Most of the symptoms listed above are going to be detrimental to your exam performance so it is important to address the issue as soon as possible. After all, tiredness and forgetfulness are not going to help with revision or recalling dates for a history exam.
How to manage exam stress?
Often stress will develop from poor habits that leave our bodies lacking in a certain area of life. This could include sleep, exercise and nutrition. Developing a plan, or system, will give you ways of dealing with stress when it arises. Small changes to your lifestyle have been known to combat stress before it even arrives. ‘What are these magical ways?’ We hear you ask. Well, most of them are quite simple.
Eat right – The correct diet will help your body stay energised and focused when working. It will provide your body with the correct nutrients and improve your mood.
Exercise – This has to be one of the most effective and healthiest ways to blow off steam and take your mind away from what is stressing you out.
Sleep well – Give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep. It is not always easy, but try removing all technology, phones, computers etc, at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Try reading a book and drink some warm milk to help you doze off in a relaxed manner.
Don’t compare yourself – Concentrate on yourself, not what others are doing. Constantly comparing yourself to other people is a thankless task. Everyone is different and progresses at different rates. It is only going to be you and the exam paper when the time comes.
Don’t do too much – Trying to prepare for exams can be a busy time. It may be wise to drop an activity or speak to your parents about being flexible with chores for a few weeks.
Regular treats and breaks – Take breaks from your work. Give yourself short breaks, with treats, when you complete goals and revision sessions. Treats do not have to be large, a few minutes of TV or a cup of tea in the sun will do the job.
It is not be-all and end-all – There is life the other side of exams. They are important, but they are by no means life or death.
We can all get stressed from time to time and it is important to recognise when it is becoming a problem. If you are feeling the weight of exams on your shoulders it can be good to talk to a teacher, parent or friend who can help you reduce the stress and develop a plan to deal with the problem. Often the process of talking will help.
Smithbrook Tuition can help you prepare for exams offering a focused, supportive environment for revision along with expert tuition for tricky subjects.