Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reduce exam stress and Improve exam productivity


When students think about the time around exams, the first word that comes to mind is usually 'Stress!' While it's true that exam time will never be a truly relaxing experience (not if you care about your results, anyway).

You can take steps to ensure the stress of exam time helps, rather than hinders, your ability to pass.

Too much stress around exam time can cause any of the following

a) an inability to focus on the exam question

b) Forgetting material you've learned, through to headaches, cramps, nausea and shaking.

c) None of which will help you manage a good mark in the exam! So how can you manage your stress levels to make sure they don't get in your way?

1 - SCHEDULE YOUR STUDY IN ADVANCE

a) Most students know that cramming the night before never works and they never setting up a study schedule in advance (and then following it) - but somehow, we end up doing it anyway!



b) Start thinking about what you're going to need to study at least a few weeks (if not longer) before the exam, and set up a timetable for yourself. This is for revision part. Before that , you have to cover at least one round of studies.


c) Use checklists, and cross off each topic once you've covered it. Try different study techniques, and test yourself frequently to identify which ones work best for you.

2 - DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR SLEEP

a) With so much study to do (or perhaps to avoid doing?), sleep is a common casualty of exam time.

b) It's also one of your best allies for a clear mind, so if you care about your exam results, make sure you don't let it slide.


c) Aim to get 7 hours a night minimum in the weeks leading up to exams (more if you're feeling tired - different bodies have different requirements), and ensure you get an early night before each exam - even if your exam isn't until the afternoon

3 - WATCH YOUR DIET

a) Perhaps more than at any other time of year, nutrition levels are critical during exam time.

b) Our brains simply can't function optimally if we're not supplying them with enough of the nutrients they need.

c) If you're on any kind of calorie-controlled diet, consider relaxing it a little around exam time, and make sure you're eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

d) Consider a multi-vitamin supplement if you're not already taking one.

4 - KEEP MOVING

a) As the exams draw closer, it can be easy to lock yourself in the library (or your room) and not come out for hours at a time.

b) The trouble with this is that when we stop moving, our brains get sluggish.

c) If you want to make sure you're taking in what you study, it's important to get some form of exercise - even just a walk around the block - at least once a day.

d) And if you're starting to feel stress symptoms building as you study, try taking time out for something even more energetic.

5 - EXPERIMENT WITH RELAXATION

There are a number of different relaxation methods available - how many have you tried?

1) Meditation,

2) listening to soothing music,

3) hypnosis audios,

4) burning relaxing essential oils,

5) yoga,

6) hot (or cool) baths,

7) Journaling and walking through somewhere green are all possibilities.

6 - DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE!

a) Both before and during exams, oxygen is your friend!

b) Focused deep breathing is a relaxation technique you can use regularly during the time leading up to the exam, and it's also a great tool to have during the exam itself.

c) When you're under pressure, it's natural for your breathing to start speeding up and getting shallower.

d) Don't let it! Consciously take slower, deeper breaths and watch yourself start to relax, and your thoughts begin to clear as you do.

All the best

CA vivek M

castudenthelpdesk @ gmail.com

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