We all know exams are nerve-wracking no matter whether you’re a high-school student or an adult learner. Most test-takers get anxious and it affects their mind and body. Is it possible to beat the stress and stay healthy during the exam? The answer is yes, absolutely! You need to follow these simple rules to bring your anxiety level down and focus on the result you want to achieve.
Once you book an exam and start getting ready for it, a good night’s sleep becomes a dream. All the same, it’s necessary for your body. Make sure that you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This way, your body will get the energy to start a new day, and your mind will be refreshed and ready to digest new information.
A lot of students get into the habit of burning the midnight oil trying to catch up with their studies the night before the exam. However, it may be counterproductive. Not only will the last-minute cram-session make you anxious, but you will also lose out on the much-needed rest. Develop a schedule and plan your exam prep in such a way that you spend enough time studying and don’t end up sacrificing sleep.
If you have difficulties falling asleep, you could follow some of these tips: lower the room temperature, use deep breathing method, block out any light and sound, etc. Sticking to a specific routine might also help. Before going to bed, take a hot bath, read a book, listen to pleasant music to calm your nerves and tune your body in for sleep.
2. Take breaks
Exams can get pretty intense. When you book an exam, and its date is looming on the horizon, you don’t want to waste a single second of your precious time. But if you study too much and too hard, it might not help. It will only do the opposite, and you’ll become overwhelmed with everything your brain will need to process in a short time.
According to some studies, the human brain can only focus on one task for about 45 minutes. Then it loses concentration and the ability to memorize things. Keep this in mind and try to change the types of activities every so often. For example, switch from reading a textbook to learning cue cards or doing a practice test. In this case, you’ll continue studying without swamping your memory.
Don’t forget to take breaks. Stand up, stretch your arms and legs, drink some water, look out of the window. Such short breaks will make a huge difference and won’t feel exhausted after a full day of preparation. Allow yourself longer breaks at least three times per day. Go for a walk, have your lunch, watch a cartoon, relax. Time is valuable, so use it wisely.
3. Eat healthy and stay hydrated
It is essential to maintain a good energy level during your studies. Try to keep to a balanced diet of vitamins from fruit and vegetables, proteins from meat, beans and fish and starch from the pasta. Your meals should be nutritious but light. Try to avoid high-sugar or high-fat foods as they only give you a short energy boost. Also, consider what you’re going to eat on the day you’ll go to an exam centre.
Stay hydrated. It is crucial for your body. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Also, choose herbal tea instead of coffee. Too much caffeine will not do any good for your body and will only add to your nervousness and anxiety. Water, on the contrary, will allow your body to function properly.
Don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time and need to prioritize your studies over physical activities. Exercising will help refresh your body and clear your mind. If the weather permits, do your exercises outside. You’ll benefit from the fresh air as well. Go for a run, do some jumping or simply walk in the park. You’ll feel much better.
If time is too limited, stay inside and do some exercises at home. Crank up the volume of your favourite music and dance around the room. Or, spread out your mat and do some yoga. Go to a gym or a swimming pool if you feel like it. Getting physical is only part of it. Choosing to do something you enjoy is equally important.
If you’re still finding that all the above don’t help and the thought of going to an exam centre terrifies you, try to relieve your stress with other methods. Try to do some yoga and meditation. Book a massage or a spa visit. Watch a good comedy show or a movie that’ll make you laugh. Find something that brings you joy and pleasure and do it. Remember: your mental health is just as important as your body’s.
Do you have difficulty coping on your own? Meet a family member or a friend or talk to them over the phone. Voice your concerns, share what you fear the most, and you’ll feel the burden drop from your shoulders. Be mindful of your emotional state and seek professional help if needed.
Stay healthy and do your best at the exam!