How to manage stress and anxiety in exams
DURING exams most pupils get too caught up with what everyone else is doing or not doing.
One of the most important things to avoid is studying for exams on the morning of the paper. Cramming at the last minute has been proven to cause more doubt and confusion.
Ideally, rise early and be at school in time for your exam.
It’s never good to rush from the time you wake until you enter the exam room.
The rush releases a stress chemical in your brain called cortisol. This leads to more stress and more worry.
Also ensure that you have adequate sleep as your memory performance, cognitive and motor skills (exam problem-solving) depend on you having had enough sleep.
One of the big factors that creates too much stress and anxiety, is worry. What you need to know is that your memory resides in your subconscious mind and most people want to consciously access what is in their subconscious.
This creates worry and doubt, which lead your system into a fight or flight mode. This is how pupils are saddled with mental and memory blocks.
An important affirmation to use during exams is: “All I need is within me now.”
This helps ease the worry and anxiety. You must relax mentally, to ease the stress and worry, by constantly reassuring your mind with positive affirmations.
How can you alleviate the worry and anxiety?
Well, let’s look at simple scientific research. We know when pupils are stressed and worried, it takes up space on their mental desks.
This is where the pupil’s focus and attention is directed and it creates a lot of doubt and stress.
It’s simple to alleviate this worry, stress and doubt. All you need to do is write down everything about the exam that has you stressed and worried.
Whether you are concerned about not finishing aspects of your studies, afraid that you may not finish on time or you don’t know the required essays, whatever it may be, write it down on paper.
Now, what can you do with this piece of paper that indicates all your exam worries and stress?
Well, you can throw it away, burn or tear it up or do all of that. That would help to alleviate all the mental stress and clear your mental desk.
The next thing you must do when preparing for exams is to create a quick 30-second visualisation of yourself being in the exam room, receiving the question paper with everything you prepared for in there.
You are cool and calm because “all I need is within me now”.
Then picture yourself feeling confident and smiling because you know the answers to the questions asked.
Then fast forward your visualisation to the end of exams and receiving your report.
All the marks you set out to achieve have been achieved and are reflected on the report.
Hear the compliments from your parents, teachers and friends. Feel the feeling of receiving your results and all of the positive feedback that floods in.
This will ease your worries, anxiety and stress while, at the same time, you will become more confident as you get ready to tackle the exam papers.
Smile and stay positive. Speak positive affirmations and be proactive.
Next week we will go into the questions and different levels of questions.
Bayat is the creator of Accelerated Learning. He is an author, trainer, speaker and coach.