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Causes Of Exam Stress & Ways To Manage Them

October 1, 2019

It’s difficult to find a student who wouldn’t run scared before the exam. Even studying hard doesn’t guarantee that the exams pass without nervous tension. Exams (especially final ones) are always a serious challenge. Intensive mental activity, disturbance of sleep and rest, and severe emotional sufferings lead to the overstrain of the nervous system. Headache, nausea, skin rashes, confusion, panic, fear, nightmares… This list of ailments during the exams is far from complete.

So final exam stress is something you should learn to deal with.

First of all, you need to figure out why you’re anxious. Let’s look at the most common causes of the examination stress and ways to cope with them.

  • Lack of knowledge

The uncertainty in your knowledge, fortunately, can be eliminated with the help of additional studies. However, there is a false fear when a stressed student, having mastered everything he or she can, is afraid to fail the exam. It’s rather a fear of the unknown. To overcome it, practice your test at home. Such a rehearsal will help you not to be afraid of the upcoming examination.

  • Uneven study load

Start preparing the day before the exam? Trying to master the entire program in a short period of time? Then stress isn’t surprising! I think it makes no sense to say that knowledge should be accumulated gradually. Try to learn the principles of time management to avoid such situations.

  • High expectations

Are you a perfectionist? Think that you need to pass the exam ideally and get the highest score? Or maybe your parents or professors expect perfect results from you and you feel their pressure? Studying hard is good. But when it becomes an obsession, it’s better to hold off for a bit. All you need is to do your best to pass the exam and remain calm with any result. The main thing is that you’ll know that you have done everything you could.

  • Fear of public speaking

This fear is called gloss phobia. Of course, this is only relevant if you have an oral exam. As you know, it’s always worse than written text. You can fight this fear only in practice – train at home in front of the mirror, read special literature and leave the comfort zone.

  • Self-doubt

Don’t feel confident? Sure, that you’ll undoubtedly fail the test? With this attitude, going to stressful exams will be difficult. Try to create an image of success and believe in it. Imagine that you’re confidently and perfectly answering, you feel great, you have a clear head, speak quietly and smoothly, and enjoy your answer. Let your brain remember this image and reproduce it on the exam.

How do I stop stressing for exams? 12 quick ways eliminate exam stress:

No matter whether you have an oral exam or writing assignment, stress is inevitable. Everyone experiences anxiety and copes with it differently. There is no spell wand to relieve stress. But there are some methods that can help you avoid it or at least eliminate its effects – check them out!

1. Set your mind on victory

Never think about losing. Get inspired. Nobody will punish you because of a bad result, the world won’t collapse, you won’t stop breathing. Just believe that you can do it.

2. Prepare for exams in advance

The sooner you start preparing, the more confident you’ll feel. Even A level students should prepare for exams in advance because this is the only way to get rid of pre-examination stress (but I’m not sure of that). Distribute the study load correctly. Don’t start with those questions that you know the answers to. This is self-deception. This gives the impression that you studied everything, and you have no time left for complicated information. And it creates an additional stressful situation.

3. Write cheat sheets

You don’t necessarily need to use them. Moreover, this is quite difficult to do. However, cheat notes let you remember information better than just reading it. Emphasize the basics. The key points become “beacons” for you, guided by which you can easily remember the answer to a question. They’ll lead you through the mazes of your memory. If you understand your notes, you remember everything.

4. Don’t cram information

Try not to cram, but to understand the exam material. If you just memorize the correct answer, most likely you’ll be easily confused by an additional question. This is particularly so for those, who are about to take an oral exam.

5.  Don’t get distracted

Don’t turn on the TV or music when preparing for exams. A sound background only distracts you from studying. Also, put your smartphone away while preparing. 

6. Say the answers to the exam questions out loud

It’s better for someone to listen to you. So, you can practice before meeting with the professor.

7. Specify incomprehensible moments

If something isn’t clear to you, don’t hesitate to go to the teacher and ask personally to explain difficult moments. The teacher is interested in you to pass the exams well, so he or she won’t refuse your request.

8. Follow the daily regime

Don’t prepare for exams at night. Go to bed on time. Eat regularly, instead of having a snack on sandwiches just during preparation. Proper nutrition and healthy sleep will help your body cope with stress better than any sedatives.

9. Take breaks

Take 10-minute breaks every 45 minutes. Get a little exercise, drink juice, do eye gymnastics or just stand by the window and take some rest. So, you’ll better process information and be less stressed. Don’t sit over books all day. After about 6 hours of active work, you’ll get tired and stop understanding and remembering material. Our memory starts to act selectively, which leads to errors.

10. Go for a walk

Two hours of walking before bedtime can help to relieve stress. Moreover, walking helps to better accumulate knowledge and stimulates brain activity. Want to get rid of insomnia – a constant companion of a stressful state? Then take a walk!

11. Exclude coffee and tea

Try not to drink a gallon of coffee or strong tea. A large amount of these drinks stress and badly affect the nervous system. Choose fresh juice instead. Believe me, they will also help you cheer up!

12. Take a rest before the exam

That’s the main thing. Finish your preparation the day before the exam (preferably in the morning). Don’t try to urgently learn what you haven’t learned – there will be no benefit from this. Have a rest, switch to something pleasant and positive. And most importantly, go to bed early. A good rest before the exam is a guarantee that you’ll remember everything the next day and will succeed.

Discomfort because of the examination is something to be expected. It sets you up for achievement and allows you to show your worth. Keep in mind that after the exam, in any case, you can take a huge sigh of relief from the fact that everything is already behind. And, of course, you can be proud of yourself that you’ve dealt with this difficult challenge. Keep your pecker up! 

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