Easy Ways to Beat Exam Stress

Why do some people seem to do OK with their school-work but freeze on exams?  The anxiety (that most people feel) can either work for you or against you. I thought it did a great job of identifying the problem, explaining why people feel test anxiety, and proposed solutions worth reading.

There is a certain kind of stress that goes along with sitting in a quiet classroom with a booklet of questions in front of you and a time-limit ticking away.

Here are 10 tips to help with exam stress:

  1. Don’t leave studying for an exam to the last minute. That may seem obvious, but procrastination is a massive stress-builder. If you have done the best you can to be prepared, you feel more restful.
  2. Be rested. Don’t stay up all night studying. Make sure you have had enough sleep so you feel rested.
  3. Eat a good breakfast. Eat something healthy so that you aren’t hungry and shaky going into the exam.
  4. Watch what you are saying to yourself.  Set yourself up for success by telling yourself positive messages that you are going to do your best and that will be good enough.
  5. Watch who you talk to. Don’t let other people’s stress wash off on you.
  6. Review your most difficult “cue cards” before the exam so you can visualize the answers and the information is fresh on your mind.
  7. Bring more than one pen/pencil so that you aren’t interrupted if one fails you.
  8. During the exam do a quick read through so you are aware of how many questions you have to do, which ones will take the mot time; put an estimated time on each section so you can pace yourself.
  9. Always make sure you look on both sides of the paper to make sure you do not miss questions.
  10. Don’t put yourself down along the way. If you are thinking that you are “so forgetful” or “stupid” or start telling yourself you are going to fail, all that will work against you. Move past questions you don’t understand and go back to them later. Often something will “click” that will help you to answer it after-all. And if you can’t, you can’t.

Do your best, walk away, and learn from the experience. You are smart and talented and have lots to offer; if you don’t do well on an exam, keep in mind that everyone fails at something, somewhere along the way.