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We are at that time of year again. When all the examinations are starting, and a whole load of people are going around filled with apprehension and nerves. Are you or your child about to sit examinations? Then here are a few helpful ways of dealing with exam stress and anxiety.
Dealing With Exam Stress And Anxiety
Over the years I have dealt with examination stress and anxiety many times. During my lifetime I have sat innumerable exams and tests. My school days were littered with tests and I did the obligatory GCSE and A levels needed to progress in my chosen career.
As an undergraduate dental student, we were constantly told that we were one of the most examined courses in the university. I worked out that I probably sat over 100 tests and examinations in just 5 years of my undergraduate course!
And further to this I am a singer, and so have gone in for countless auditions and recalls.
Along with all these exams comes those oh-so familiar feelings.
- sweaty palms
- butterflies / palpitations
- a ‘fight or flight’ sensation that a surge of adrenaline brings.
You might be tearful, or feel that you cannot cope. These feelings are all normal. And it is ok to feel like this, as probably everyone around you feels the same. It’s just that some people put on a better front. Or have strategies to help cope with it all.
But what can you do to help dealing with exam stress and anxiety?
If You Are Doing The Exam
1. Be Prepared
Do try and be as prepared as you can. Revise or do the preparation for whatever test you are taking. But do also remember to rest, take exercise and look after yourself by eating healthily and staying hydrated.
2. Get Good Sleep
It may be hard if you are particularly worried, but try to get a full quota of sleep in, even if this means making sure you get to bed a little earlier.
3. Be Kind To Yourself
It is not the end of the world if you have a bad days revision, or just aren’t good when it comes to exam day. Remember that you are doing the best you can. And talk to yourself the way that you would be kind to a friend in the same situation.
4. Remember to Keep Things In Perspective.
It may feel that it is the most important thing in the world to pass these exams. And yes, they are important. But there are many more ways to get on in this world than just having these results.
5. Don’t Overanalyse
After the exam, don’t hang around with others doing a ‘post mortem’ of the experience. Get out and draw a line under what has happened. It will possibly just make you more anxious if you feel that you have made errors, and affect any future examinations you have.
6. If It Gets Too Much, Talk To Someone
Hopefully you have someone around who can listen to you, even if it just to sympathise. Do talk to someone if you feel way out of your depth. And they will probably say the same as points 3 and 4 above…
If You Know Someone Who Is Dealing With Exam Stress and Anxiety
1. Offer A Listening Ear.
I can just help to know that you are there if needed. Or to act as a soundboard. Some people learn by teaching others, so maybe even offer to have parts of the subject explained to you.
(I have lost count of the number of people I’ve practiced singing my audition songs to)
2. Give Practical Support
Make the exam subject their favourite breakfast on exam day. Ensure they get enough sleep. Make sure they take breaks from revising (but that they also crack on and prepare too!) Reassure them how exam results are not necessarily the only way to get ahead in the world. Just be there.
On The Day Of The Exam
Try and get up in plenty of time, have a calm routine for getting up and getting to your exam or test. Have a good breakfast. Do some stretches to wake up your whole body.
And whether you are taking the exams, or have a child who is, why not organise a few things to look forwards to for after the exam days? Giving something to look forward to reminds us all that there is more to life than these exams and their results.
Good Luck, and I hope the day goes well. Why not pin this post for later?