Exam stress is one of the biggest result killers around. Not only does it have a negative impact on results, but it can also hurt children’s health! Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea and even panic attacks are all commonly related to exam stress. So, what can you do to CONQUER exam stress? Read on and find out!
The Ugly Side of Exam Stress
Let’s run through a brief list of common symptoms associated with exam stress. If you’ve got any of these, tick them off the list!
- Skipping meals. Exam stress can sometimes take away your appetite. Skipping meals is an extremely common side effect. Whether you just don’t feel that you have the time, or you aren’t hungry; it’s never good to skip meals. Food helps your brain, so you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good in the long run.
- Lack of sleep. Suffering from a lack of sleep? You aren’t alone. 2/3 students with exams on the horizon, are in the same boat. Whether your nerves are keeping you up at night, you are sacrificing sleep for revision or your brain just won’t shut off; this is one of the biggest health and result killers out there.
- Alcohol! Okay this might be extreme, but the statistics show that some students are turning to this out of desperation. We only need to say one thing here – don’t!
- Arguments. One of the most common reasons that exams are so stressful, is that students don’t want to let their parents down. This leads to pressure, arguments and difficulty at home, as students begin to blame their parents for what they are going through.
- Procrastination. This easily the most common side effect of exam stress, and sometimes it doesn’t even happen when you are stressed. We all procrastinate from time to time, but when you are procrastinating, this is a big sign that you aren’t quite dealing with the pressure!
- Loneliness. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that exam revision can be extremely lonely. Yes it can be a group activity, but the actual learning has to be done by yourself. With this in mind, it’s common for students to feel isolated from friends or family, and sometimes they might not feel that other people understand what they are going through.
Exam Stress: The Good News
So, now we’ve got the negatives out the way, let’s start looking at the positives! There are plenty of reasons to be upbeat about YOUR exams, because you can really beat the symptoms listed above!
- Take care of yourself. Many people are surprised to learn just how much of an impact your physical wellbeing has on your mental capacity. This starts with exercise. You don’t need to push yourself too hard, but relaxing exercises such as yoga, taking a walk or even swimming will go a long way to freshening and strengthening your brain. So what does this do? Well, it’s pretty simple really. Gentle exercise increases the blood-flow to your brain, and reduces physical tension. It also helps you to sleep, improves concentration levels and balances your emotional state.
- You are what you eat. It’s true what they say, you are what you eat, and if you eat badly then you’ll perform badly. You can’t expect to maximise your revision if you are eating junk food the whole time! You need to fuel yourself with the right foods. Avoid junk food, and don’t take the classic student approach and binge on coffee. This won’t help you in the long run.
- Organise yourself! Revision is so much less stressful once you have learned to organise your materials. The less organised you are, the more stressed you’ll be, as you’ll spend almost as much time trying to wing an impossible schedule and find your learning materials; as you will actually revising!
- Plan your studies. Creating a personal study plan will go a long way to achieving this. Write down key dates, areas in which you are weakest and strongest and specific topics in each subject field; that you still need to tackle.
- Take breaks. Exhausted? Then you are working too hard. Take a break and make time for yourself. Individual study sessions have a ceiling, and once you reach that ceiling the only way is down. Don’t overwork yourself, and don’t let revision be the boss of you.