Friday 15 September 2017

5 Ways of Dealing With Exam Stress

The past 2 years in my life have been plagued by stress from exams. While still being stressed, I’ve done a few things to help minimise that stress and keep going and I thought I’d share them here. I want to say out right that there’s no way to avoid stress completely if you care about your exams. If someone out there has found a way to being completely stress-free but still caring and doing well then please tell me as that would be the end to all my sorrows! (Slight exaggeration but you get the picture.) I warn you that you will be stressed no matter what and will probably have a few (if not many) breakdowns and moments when you think you can’t do it. But I want to let you know that you can. Those are words I need to hear quite a lot to keep going with my A Levels so I’m putting them here for anyone else in need of encouragement. These tips wouldn’t eradicate your stress, but I hope they are ways that will help reduce it.

1. Do revision in advance

Like way in advance. Get your shit together early, do little bits here and there to help build up your knowledge. Find out when/if your teachers run revision sessions and start attending them regularly and from the get go. For this, revising properly for your mocks definitely, helps. I had mocks at the end of Year 10 and half way through Year 11, revised properly for both sets and came out with a good set of GCSEs. I’m sure I wasn’t panicking so much by the time I took my GCSEs because the knowledge I needed was already stuck in my head from revising for mocks previously – and the same goes for my AS exams, although it does become more difficult as there is more information and less time (not with linear A Levels, but the sheer scale of learning you have to do becomes the difficult part). Spread out revision works better than crammed in general and is definitely less stressful.

2. Have a regular (as possible) sleeping pattern

My ideal sleeping pattern would be 11-12ish to 8/8:30 and I do tend to stick to that to varying degrees during the holidays. However, it’s not so convenient when I have to go to college/work. So, when it’s college time I have to go to bed earlier in order to get enough sleep. Sleep is vital to the effectiveness of your learning. It’s so noticeable when you haven’t had the sleep you need. Your brain can’t process the information it’s trying to take in so well, and how are you meant to revise something you couldn’t learn in the first place?

3. Try and be as healthy as possible

Eat your fruit and veg and have a balanced diet. I know people bang on about this all the time and ends up just being a bit of a jumble in your head, but it really does help. I’m not one to be all high and mighty about this. I often buy cakes at college, particularly if I’m craving some when pre-menstrual or actually on my period. At those times, they’re the only thing that will make me happier. But in the long run, a healthy diet will do you a lot of good in loads of different areas. You’ll feel better within your body and therefore be able to be more productive and ready to learn.

4. Organise your time

Once you learn to manage your time well, you will be able to get everything you need done, and once you’ve got those done then you will worry less. My advice is always to get a planner and to use it for everything. It works well for me. Make to-do lists and stick to them. Believe me, organising your tasks makes them seem less daunting. Get yourself organised to get your work done, but make sure you don’t sacrifice the things you love – they’ll keep your identity afloat separately from your studies.

5. Take breaks and relax in ways that suit you

We all need time to breathe and to think about something other than exams. You probably know best how you rewind, so do what works best for you. You could read, watch films, a TV series or YouTube videos, the list goes on. Do something that will distract you for a while and lift your spirits. Then, you can go back to revision with a clearer head.

Good luck.


If you liked this post you might like: My Advice to New A Level Students

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