Have you ever seen a stress-free student just before an exam? I haven’t – but after sitting through three years of university exams, (most of which are three to four hours long) I have personally developed some tips to help students reduce their exam stress levels and ensure maximum efficiency before, during and straight after an examination.
Before the exam
Here are some basic pre-exam tips to help you minimise stress and maximise effective study.
- Don’t cram
Studying the night before an exam causes the level of stress in the body to increase. Unfortunately, this stress doesn’t decrease when you go to sleep. The best way to reduce anxiety is by taking the night before an exam off to relax: watch TV, talk to a friend, read a novel.
If you’re one of those people who become anxious because of not studying the night before an exam, then simply review the main points of your subject earlier in the day and leave the night free for other things.
Note that it is assumed that you have already done some study leading up to the night before your exam.
- Avoid stressful people
Stress is contagious, so resist the urge to have a study session with your apprehensive friends before an exam, especially if they’re complaining about all the work they have left to do and pulling their hair out.
Their stress will only add to your stress and make you doubt yourself, even if you know that you will be fine.
- Eat well
Good nutrition is a leading factor in a student’s academic achievement. A well-balanced diet can help transform a nutritionally imbalanced student into a healthy and dynamic one.
And of course, having breakfast before an exam is a must for a student who wants to focus and be most efficient during their exam.
- Watch your caffeine intake
Nothing drives up your stress level faster than not being able to fall asleep the night before an exam, so avoid beverages like coffee, or high energy drinks like V or Mother unless they are decaffeinated.
- Avoid hangovers
Do your best to avoid alcohol the night before your exam because a bad hangover is the very worst thing to be suffering from in an exam room.
- Prepare to be prepared
Before going to bed the night before an exam, make sure to collect together everything that you will need for the exam – this could include:
- Sharpened pencils
- Your lucky shirt
- Water bottle
- A watch
Double (and even triple) check the time of your exam, location and seat number. Allow plenty of time for problems like lack of fuel and traffic on the way, making sure to arrive with time to spare so that you go into your exam calmly rather than in a frantic rush sweating.
Staying up all night before an exam is the worst thing one can do. You reach a point where your productivity eventually declines, so sleeping is a must to have a refreshed mind the next morning.
Regular sleep is the best ways to control exam stress. Students who follow a regular sleeping pattern have been shown to perform much better than students who stay up late.
Also, don’t forget to set your alarm clock the night before!
Best of luck,