Read expert tips on how to reduce the anxiety associated with exams, and develop mechanisms to help you cope with both the work load and your own reactions. 

For most students, exams are synonymous with stress, and anxiety. Besides the challenge of mastering your study material, there’s the expectation of parents and teachers to contend with, too.

And that’s not all. Peer pressure and competition, and nagging tutors only add to the worry. You may wonder if it’s at all possible to tackle these worrying influences, and still do well in exams? Read on, to discover some solutions.

Old open book with a vintage library background

#1 You can change your perception of exams

Though students like you can’t escape the hurdle of examinations, what you can do, is change your attitude. Also, you can develop two kinds of skills to help you ace exams: Effective Study Skills and Stress Busting Skills.

#2 Shorten your study periods

Instead of sitting at your books for prolonged periods of time, you can shorten the length of each study session to  40-45 minutes at a time. Shorter sessions help you maintain focus, and absorb your study material better.

#3 Take regular breaks

You should take regular breaks between your studying hours, for around 5-10 minutes each. But do remember, these breaks are not inflexibly stretchable! While breaks offer the chance to recuperate and relax, do use them well.

Avoid reading or sitting in front of the TV or a computer, as these activities involve the same part of the brain involved in studying.  Exercise instead, do some deep breathing, listen to music, chat with a friend, or go for a short walk.

#4 Use time-saving tactics

Most of you need to read and revise a topic more than once, so try to highlight specific words or phrases that help you retain the important issues. This habit helps save time when you reread or revise the same topic again.

Moreover, highlighting is proven to be more effective than underlining, as it helps you form visual memories of the highlighted words.

#5 Prepare your study environment

Besides all the other factors, also make sure you pay attention to the place you use to study. No matter how comforting your bed might appear, this really isn’t the ideal study spot.

That’s because your brain recognizes your bed as a place to sleep. Instead, reserve a study table or desk for yourself, and keep this free of clutter at all times.  Another tried and tested strategy, is to keep changing the place you reserve for study.

So, if you can’t concentrate in your usual spot, try moving to another room to get your mind going.

#6 Keep your energy up with healthy bites

Though Maggi noodles and pizza may be what you crave during these stressful times, you should limit your consumption of these foods. Go for brain foods instead: bananas, dates, small amounts of dark chocolate, peanut butter on toast, fresh fruit smoothies, and the like.

Eating healthy ensures your brain and body a steady stream of energy, since your blood sugar remains stable. Also, do get up every 15 minutes and stretch, to relieve the tension in your neck muscles.