Love them or hate them, exams are a part of being a student. And they’re right around the corner.
Exams can lead to stressful times for some students. For others, they’re an opportunity to rise to the challenge and excel.
There are key things students can do to beat stress, rock their exams and come out happier and healthier.
Chart a plan of action
Preparation is the most important element in exam success and reducing stress,You need to identify first if you are, in fact, stressed.
If you’re stressed, identify what the stressor is.Stress is a response to danger. If it is specifically the exam, why is this exam a danger?
Students should also take stock of their resources and time constraints.For example, if you know you need six hours to study and you only have two, there’s an imbalance,.
Set a schedule and stick to it.Schedule all activities, including downtime,Address issues as they come so you don’t get to the crisis point.
Healthy diet, exercise, sleep
It might seem like eating a slice of greasy pizza, drinking buckets of coffee and staying up all night to cram are necessary, but those stereotypical efforts are not helpful.
In fact, it probably makes for worse performance. Eating, exercising, and sleeping well are effective ways to reduce stress and prepare for exams.
A balanced, healthy diet provides the needed strength for weeks of exams. We’ve all heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” So eating something at breakfast is important. Fruits, veggies and nuts are great snacks during packed days.
Moderating intake of fat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine is also recommended. Consult Canada’s Food Guide for advice.
Many people crave caffeine and that’s absolutely understandable. Yet instead of java, how about trying green tea? It has only about 20 mg of caffeine per 250 ml. Brewed coffee can have upwards of 120 mg of caffeine, can be a stomach irritant and can lead to irregular sleep.
Regular exercise improves mood, boosts energy levels and promotes better sleep. Can’t get to the gym every day? Take a quick walk. Get out of the subway or bus a few stops early. It might be chilly, but 15 minutes of fresh air works wonders.
Seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night allows for clearer thinking, deeper concentration and fosters calm in stressful situations. The less sleep a person gets, the more stressed they become and the sooner they crash.
An environment to concentrate
Nobody wants to disconnect, but avoiding distractions helps maintain focus. Turn off the cell phone, ignore email, shut off the television. Sit down and study.
Spare at least 45 minutes per day for mind-wandering.
Brief diversions can clear the mind. Ideas? Stare at the ceiling. Do the dishes. Listen to some music. Read the newspaper. Better? Go for a walk. Make some soup. Eat that soup. Do some yoga. Write an alternate ending to your favourite movie.
Go to exams with confidence
Be prepared, well rested and ready to write. Think positively about personal achievements and abilities.
Owen suggests taking a few moments to breathe slowly and deeply to regain focus. Disconnect from unhealthy emotions.
Study hard and remain disciplined without overdoing it. Treat yourself to small things – in moderation – that can buoy the spirit.
Exams will be over and done in no time. Celebrate with friends, enjoy a dinner and movie. You earned it. Time to get back to the things that had to take a pause.