Coping With Exam Stress

As the examination period approaches, you may feel the pressure of the exams getting to you. This is not surprising — in fact it is quite normal to feel some anxiety about exams. Most people find that a bit of pressure spurs us on and enables us to get down and do some serious work.
Read through the revision strategies section of this website and organise your revision time. Planning ahead will mean you can keep to a sensible schedule. (Don't feel you have to spend every waking hour in the library. Revising well means revisingly wisely, and balancing work with exercise and relaxation).
If you are feeling anxious, you may find it helpful to talk to your personal tutor or course tutors. Talking to your friends and family will also help you keep things in perspective.
As Roger Mead, Stress Management Consultant and General Secretary of the International Stress Management Association states: "Stress is not about the exam, but about what you think about the exam. People shouldn't see them as monsters they can't escape. With the right preparation they're not too scary."
If you want to find out more about what the professional 'stressbusters' have to say about dealing with the pressure of exams, read this article in The Guardian (Oliver Duff, March 2003).
The Institute for Stress Management website (see the link on the right) also offers advice and further suggestions which may help you deal with the pressure of exams. An extract from their website is provided below:

General Exam Stress-Busting Tips:

  • Believe in yourself
    You wouldn't have been given a place on the course if you didn't have the ability to do it. Therefore, if you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively.
  • Don't try to be perfect
    It's great to succeed and reach for the stars. But keep things in balance. If you think that "anything less than A+ means I've failed" then you are creating mountains of unnecessary stress for yourself. Aim to do your best but recognise that none of us can be perfect all of the time.
  • Take steps to overcome problems
    If you find you don't understand some of your course material, getting stressed out won't help. Instead, take action to address the problem directly by seeing your course tutor or getting help from your class mates.
  • Don't keep things bottled up
    Confiding in someone you trust and who will be supportive is a great way of alleviating stress and worry.
  • Keep things in perspective
    The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now, but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are only a small part.Read more...

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