Tis the time for when panic sets in and we all find ourselves just a tad, if not extremely anxious, for the upcoming weeks. Yes, final exams are just around the corner and we all have to face what we’ve been dreading. For most students, exams tend to cause a little bit of uneasiness. Everyone has different reactions but test anxiety is extremely common and almost all students will be affected by it at some point or another. Some students may feel physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, faintness, rapid heartbeat, “blanking out”, etc. They may also have emotional/mental symptoms such as feeling angry, helpless, irritable, scared, etc. As I’m sure some of you may know, these kinds of symptoms are problematic for a person when they are trying to take an exam. It is extremely difficult to concentrate or think critically when you’re losing control of your anxiety levels. For those of you who suffer from test anxiety (whatever degree it may be), just know that although you will still feel anxious before writing an exam, there are ways to manage that anxiety. Here are some simple yet effective tips for soothing your nerves and defeating those exams!
The best thing anyone can do to calm nerves during exam time is to be prepared! Giving yourself lots of time and helpful study tactics to learn the course material will make you less likely to be anxious on the actual day of the exam.
1. Plan a study schedule and stick to it.
2. Organize your study area! A cluttered study area can only distract you from your studies. Make sure to surround yourself in a clean, organized and distraction-free area for optimal learning.
3. Make study guides such as flash cards well in advance before the exam.
4. Space out studying the material over several days or weeks before the exam.
5. Study for at least 30+ minutes a day leading up to the exam.
6. Take breaks from studying to do something you enjoy. Listen to music, make a snack, or watch an episode of your favourite television show. Just do something that will give your mind a quick break from the course material.
7. Create a practice exam and take it, or have someone else “test” you.
8. Review, review, review!
You will be spending a lot of time studying and preparing for your exams so it is important to keep yourself healthy, well-balanced and properly fuelled!
1. Eat healthy and nutritious meals and snacks.
2. Avoid all-nighters and late nights. Proper sleep will improve your exam performance significantly.
3. Exercise regularly (yoga, walking, fitness classes, etc.).
4. Relax (read, take a bath, meditate – 15 to 20 min a day can make a big difference to your stress levels)
5. Stay hydrated!
6. Talk about it – if you’re having test anxiety, then explain how you’re feeling with people you trust and know can offer support. Sometimes just talking about what is stressing us out can relieve some of that pressure.
When exam day has arrived, try to keep yourself calm. Regardless of what happens, you WILL be okay and know that the exam will soon be over and you can move on!
1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast!
2. Do a quick refresher review.
3. Make sure to have all the proper supplies for the exam – pen, pencil, eraser, calculator, etc. Have them already packed and ready to go!
4. Arrive to the exam early.
5. Find a seat that will have few distractions such as the front of the room.
6. Focus on staying calm. Take slow deep breaths, relax your body, and tell yourself “I can do this, I will be OK”.
7. If you go blank, take a deep breath, and skip to another question. Revisit the question when you’re ready to give it another try.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when/if feeling stuck during the exam. Also, if you begin to panic and need to leave the room, don’t be afraid to talk to one of the monitors and explain your situation to them. If you need a minute outside to calm down or catch your breath, notify a monitor and hopefully he or she will assist you.
1. Don’t dwell on what you may have done poorly in. This will only continue your anxiety.
2. Reward yourself – You worked hard (I hope) and deserve to have a little treat!
3. Do a happy dance because YOU’RE DONE!