August 11, 2022

Ways to Make Exams Less Stressful; the Student Angle


Anxiety, nervousness, speediness, etc, are part and parcel of the factors that lead to abnormalities during the examination period. Of course, exam time can often be stressful and nerve-wracking; while some stress can be a positive motivator, being too nervous or tense can be problematic, especially if it interferes with your performance. Now is the time to focus on what you can do to get yourself through this demanding period. Here’s some advice to help make exam time less stressful.

  1. Get hold of the right information from the start

Make sure you know how you will be examined, and what you’ll be examined on. Catch up with anything you’ve missed, so that you’ve got all your notes up to date.

It may be less stressful to do the work than it is to worry about it

If you find it hard getting motivated, set yourself measurable goals for each revision session, and tick them off when you’ve achieved them. After each session, acknowledge the achievement.

  1. Do what works for you

There’s no ‘right way to revise, it’s largely a matter of what suits you best. Switching between methods helps you hold your interest and absorb information better.

  1. Use flow charts and diagrams

Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic – and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams.

  1. Practice old exams

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and – if you time yourself – can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

  1. Snack on ‘brain food

Keep away from junk food! You may feel like you deserve a treat or that you don’t have time to cook, but what you eat can have an impact on energy levels and focus. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

If it’s hard to get started, begin with something easy

If you have a problem with concentration, you can improve it by starting with short bursts of study, then adding an extra few minutes to each session. Don’t try to study for longer than 45 to 60 minutes at a stretch.

  1. Explain your answers to others

Parents & siblings don’t have to be annoying around exam time! Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.

  1. Plan your exam day

Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam – don’t leave it to the day before to suddenly realise you don’t know the way, or what you’re supposed to bring. Work out how long it will take to get there – then add on some extra time.

  1. Get enough sleep

Reward your mind every night with at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep; it’ll thank you for it.

  1. Take regular breaks

While you may think it’s best to study for as many hours as possible, this can be counterproductive. Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember vitamin D is important for a healthy brain!

  1. Organise study groups with friends

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

Adeyinka Meduoye

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