Ways to Reduce Exam Stress: A Psychologist's Guide
The “exam” is a singular noun that causes the most plural affliction. When we think of “exams,” it would always trigger some sort of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. But for some, it can actually be a powerful trigger that can unleash underlying mental health problems. However and most importantly, we must know that there are ways to reduce exam stress and overcoming exam anxiety.
Why do people experience Exam Stress and Anxiety?
Contents of exams, changes of ways and means to formulate rubrics to grade examinations and determine grades. These are factors that increase the anxiety and stress felt by students worldwide. In a study conducted back in 2014, 201 teens have committed suicide while waiting for their exam results, as per the BBC website. Though some students do find ways to cope with stress, some simply cannot get out of the sulk and misery.
Parents are encouraged to speak and communicate with their children with consistency. So, it will allow their children to be able to comfortably express any distress felt. Especially, when the student is housed external to his or her parents’ home, like those away for college or in boarding schools.
In sum, school and exams may bring or trigger different mental illnesses. If left unaddressed or suppressed, Depression, Anxiety, Panic attacks, thoughts of implicating self-harm and suicidal thoughts are just signs of a brewing mental health condition. It must not be taken lightly especially when expressed verbally because it is a sign of reaching out and wanting help.
However, there are tips that we can easily instil upon ourselves to draw tranquillity and self-peace. There are simple ways that we can also share with those who we know are going through stress and anxiety.
Ways to Reduce Exam Stress and overcoming Exam Anxiety:
1.Collect and Organize Thoughts to reduce exam stress
There are many helpful ways that can remind us of what we must do and in what order. It may be through a journal, notes, memo pads or any other methods. To be more specific, here are some ways to reduce exam stress and overcoming exam anxiety.
In fact, there are some ways below to help us collect and organize our thoughts:
Scribbling down any question that may be the cause of exam anxiety will remind us to prioritize this when we try to seek answers.
Sketching or illustration can help the mind focus on a study plan.
Creating agendas or an itinerary can help organize thoughts. It allows one to come up with a plan of immediate action based on priorities.
Calendar Event Reminders:
Set up a series of calendar-based alerts. It will be helpful to serve as a reminder when what item or what subject is due for studying.
Separate the subjects that you already understand and which you still need to give more focus or attention on. This will ease the mind and organize the clutter that is creating anxiety for you.
2. Study Milestone Treats
Rewarding oneself whenever you achieve a level of understanding or when you tackle a mind-boggling subject or problem is highly recommended.
This triggers the mind to go into an appreciation mode. It will give a joyous feeling that exalts the spirit and eventually one’s mental health. Eventually rewarding oneself with the results of an exam can reduce exam stress and it also helps to overcome the exam anxiety.
3. Combat Fears with Positivity
One of the best ways to combat negativity and to promote positivity is to spend more time with those you love and care about and vice versa. There is nothing more refreshing than to be surrounded by people who genuinely care about you. Ranting sessions with friends and family can help too, let out the steam. Seeing people with who you have a positive relationship, no matter how short, can relieve anxiety and stress.
4. Tip-Top Physical Health
Eating healthy food can optimize the resistance of the body and mind to counter any unpleasantries including mental weariness, exam stress and anxiety. Never compromise your health by succumbing to quick meals and junk food.
Exercising is one of the best ways to relieve the body of stress. Exercise does not need to be strenuous. A short walk for 15 to 30 minutes can do wonders for the mind, the body and the spirit. It is also one of the best ways to reduce exam stress.
5. Talk to a Counselor to reduce exam stress
All schools provide some sort of support for students. These counsellors are there to help and they do have the training to do so. Make use of talking to your school’s counsellor when something bothers you and thus compromising your mental health. Never bottle in any feeling of anxiety.
If you do not wish to speak to a counsellor, a good friend who supports you will work. Importantly, a supportive family who listen and acknowledges your stress can be another form of support.
In the end, if all the above factors fail, it’s the best time to seek professional help. Professional help can also be considered if the burden is just too great to bear. Speak with your family doctor or GP if you are worried that your stress is affecting your functioning greatly and you are concerned about a mental illness.
A professional who provides services in either psychiatry or psychology can help you ease the anxiety you feel in school. Especially, when you are faced with the pressures of having to face an examination. Get the help you need, when you need it.