The days leading up to the examinations you have prepared so painstakingly for are often ridden with anxiety. It is common for students, no matter what educational level they are at, to worry about their exams. Feelings of self-doubt and the fear of not performing well may become overwhelming and interfere with day-to-day-life if not managed well.
While a little stress can serve as the motivation we need to get things done, if these feelings begin to feel all-consuming, it is imperative that we adopt small steps to tackle these negative emotions. To help you out, we have compiled a list of 3 useful tips that you can adopt when you are feeling stressed from your exam preparations.
Tip 1: Shift your mindset
One of the biggest contributors to exam stress is likely the mindset or thought that exams are an indicator of one’s success. Especially in a competitive society like Singapore, a huge emphasis is placed on performing well academically from the moment students enter the education system.
Many people might tell you this, because there is undeniably some truth to it – exams are not everything. While there are certainly benefits to achieving academic success, beating yourself up over not being the top-scoring student in your class is going to do more harm than good. Instead, consider shifting your mindset to keep things in perspective. Try looking at exams as an indicator of how much you have managed to achieve the curriculum’s intended learning objectives or as an opportunity for you to improve, as opposed to a number that determines your self-worth or success. Taking the pressure off attaining a particular grade can do wonders for alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety.
Tip 2: Cultivate good habits
Good habits can provide a strong anchor to one’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. During the intensive exam preparation season, it is easy to pull all-nighters or remain seated at your desk all day in the hopes of cramming in as much material as possible. Many students may also survive on poor diets of instant ramen, bags of sodium-packed snacks and excessive caffeine to get through study sessions. These bag habits can actually impede your concentration and energy levels long term!
For your body and mind to perform at their best, it is imperative to ensure that you cultivate good habits. Some of these habits can include:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your study sessions.
Try to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. If you struggle to fall asleep, reducing your caffeine intake during the day can help immensely.
Keep active and get moving. Studies have found that exercise or active movement is one of the most effective ways to de-stress. If you are not particularly fond of doing sports, even a short walk around your neighbourhood can help clear your head.
Don’t forget to unwind and relax. Even though procrastinating by watching your favourite TV shows when you are supposed to be studying is not the best idea, allowing yourself some downtime at the end of the day can help you get back to learning with renewed vigour after a good night’s sleep!
Tip 3: Get support and help from others
It is never embarrassing to seek assistance. When you are feeling overwhelmed or having trouble, reach out to your family, peers, or private tutor for help.
A good chat with your family members or peers can allow you to get these feelings of anxiety out of your system. If your parents have steep expectations of what they would like for you to achieve academically, it is worthwhile to let them know your thoughts and how you feel so that they can provide you with the support you need, rather than added pressure. Your peers are likely in the same boat as you are, so speaking to them can help make you feel less alone in your exam preparation journey. Lastly, a teacher or private tutor can not only provide you with academic assistance but also share practical strategies you can adopt to combat the exam nerves.
With these useful tips, exams do not have to be something that cause you overwhelming amounts of stress. Remember to always believe in yourself and be proud of how far you have already come. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this!
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