Frankie says relax: How to deal with exam stress

Frankie says relax: How to deal with exam stress Revision tips by riebschlager

This article was written by Adam Sears, published on 17th March 2011 and has been read 12843 times.

With all there is to do, learn and regurgitate in 2 hour blocks, exam stress can take hold of many students with remarkable ease. Though you can’t shy your exams away, you can try and control your levels of stress effectively, to make sure you stay on top of them and focus on your studies.
There are many different signs of stress, though by far and wide, the most common include a feeling of unease, headaches, lack of appetite and isolated behaviour. It can affect some at the beginning of revision period, others closer to the date. There are a few remedies to keep exam stress at bay, here are our student writers’ favourites:

1) Devise a studying timetable and stick to it

Allocating slots of 40 minutes to each topic with 10 minute breaks has been scientifically proven to help students gather and digest information in a more efficient manner. Don’t read the information straight out a book/off the internet, make sure you copy, rewrite in your own words, colour-code and star certain aspects of your notes to bring the knowledge to life, and help you remember it in the long run. You should also try and study the most difficult areas first thing in the morning, as you’re more likely to retain tedious information first thing, as opposed to getting round to it last thing at night, when you’ll be in a rush to get it done with.

2) Eat healthily

Some foods have been known to help student revision, such as fish, nuts and dried fruit. Sure, have a biscuit now and again, but make sure you’re eating properly (3 meals a day, with your main meal at lunch, and a lighter one in the evening). Why not make some fruit smoothies to make sure you get your 5 a day? Read more about brain foods here.

3) Exercise

Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and relieve stress; by working your brain during revision periods and your body in your breaks, you’ll get rid of tension and make sure you can get a good night’s sleep, as your body will have had a workout.

4) Sleep

Students should ‘shut down’ (no notes, revision cards or textbooks) at least an hour before going to bed. You should also aim for at least 8 hours sleep per night, as you’ll wake up more fresh-faced the next morning, to tackle your subjects. Try and run a bath before going to bed, or use some lavender oil drops on your pillow - it’s been proven to help induce sleep. Try and steer clear of any sleep medication, including herbal remedies.

5) Getting your vitamins

It’s important for you to keep your iron and magnesium levels up, especially during exam period so make sure you fork out on plenty of spinach and lentils, or take some extra vitamins through capsules, to keep your levels up.

6) Drink plenty

Of water, naturally, as well as other non-alcoholic fluids. Research has shown that keeping your body hydrated helps you ingest information and keep you more alert. Though your first port of call may be that early caffeine intake, try and resist - coffee makes you nervous and actually dehydrates you! The same goes for tea...If you can’t give them up, try to at least cut them down to one or two cups a day.

7) Think positively

Stress loves negative energy. Believe in yourself and give yourself a pep talk, speak to parents and peers, get stuff off your chest. The more you bottle your feelings, the more likely you are to succumb to stress and depression, which aren’t any good come exam time, when you need to be at your most positive. Don’t forget to treat yourself (film, music, food, shopping...) every now and again, to keep you motivated and willing to learn. Visualize reaching your goals, and you’ll be just fine!

Read more about planning and preparation for exams.

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