It’s the busy time of year for exams, which means lots of students are suffering with exams stress and nerves, from people taking their SATS, A levels and GSCE Exams. All throughout the year I see people of all ages taking exams and grading’s, from students in education, and adults taking career exams and regardless of age, exam anxiety can really prevent you from doing your best.
Due to the importance attached to them, exams and tests can be one of the most stressful and pressurised times of our lives.
Most have us have experienced exam nerves to some degree, butterflies in our stomach, racing heart, sweaty palms, and feelings of overwhelm and panic, self doubt, negative self talk, mind blanks, or just the fear that we will forget everything we know and have learnt.
All of these can be common feeling and emotions we can experience, and they are all quite natural. Having the appropriate level of these feelings can help focus and motivate us to do the task in hand.
An appropriate level of stress does us good, it helps get us focused and motivated to do it and perform to the best of our ability. However “appropriate” level is the key, too much stress can interfere with both our mind and our body, inhibiting our natural ability to do the best we can and even prevent us from succeeding and fulfilling our potential.
However if they become too intense they can get in our way and even sabotage our efforts.
For many people, the anxiety and nerves building up to a test or exam, if often just as bad if not worse than the test or exam itself!
The problem is that for most people all this happens by chance, they don’t set out to feel anxious and nervous, the feelings just happen and they have no way of managing or controlling it.
Here are my top tips to help eliminate and overcome exam stress and anxiety…
Keep it in Perspective
* Be aware of the worst case scenario, have a plan B, but then plan for success.
* Take the pressure off – the negative thoughts are usually more overwhelming than the actual outcome.
Believe in Yourself
*Focus on what you know and what you can do
* Focus and Imagine the positive outcome you desire.
Look After Yourself
* Sleep – Make sure you maintain a regular sleep routine to ensure you remain refreshed and re-charged
* Food – Fuel your body regularly with the best foods you can.
* Drink – Make sure you keep yourself hydrated.
* Fitness – take part in regular physical activity, it’s a great way to de-stress and stay sharp.
* Breaks – it’s important to take regular breaks, step away from the books, take some deep breathes and get some fresh air. It’s the quality of your study/revision not the quantity of time you spend doing it.
Mind Your Language
* Be mindful of your thoughts, eliminate negative thoughts, focus on what you’ve done and know rather than what you haven’t done and what you don’t know.
* Adopt empowering self talk and positive statements, to support and focus your attention on the outcomes you want.
For example when experiencing feelings of stress, instead of saying “I’m stressed” say to yourself “These feelings will pass” – because feelings are always evolving and your current feelings will pass.
And instead of talking about what you haven’t done or feel you can’t do, say to yourself “I know I can do this”
Our self talk is important and we can often overlook just how important the words we use are, the reality is the words we choose to focus on creates our thoughts, our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings determine our actions. So if ever we don’t like something we need to change the way we think about it. Change our thinking and everything follows.
Simply focus on the present not any future consequences. Get out of your own head and be present in the here and now and focus on what you CAN do.
“What the mind believes you will achieve!”
All the best
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