"Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything at once. Breathe. You're strong. You got this. Take it day by day." -Karen Salmansohn
Anxiety is one of the most paralysing feelings in the world. No matter what you are going through, big or small, it grabs hold of you and makes you think that you are not strong enough or competent enough to continue doing something. It's an irrational feeling that may appear when alone, with another person, or, for many, when surrounded by a large group of people.
As someone who has occasionally dealt with extremely anxious moments, I can only sympathise with those who have to cope with it every single day of their life. However, remember, you are not alone. According to recent estimates from psychologists, there are more than 8 million people across the United Kingdom who have cases of anxiety.
And while we could go on and on about the causes of anxious thoughts and remedies to deal with chronic anxiety in today's increasingly stressful world, let us turn our attention to a type of anxiety that stops Uni students in their tracks: test anxiety!
Scary and 100% real, exam anxiety is prevalent in dorms all across the nation. And, honestly, who can blame the students, exams really suck sometimes!
However, there is no need to fear the worst and approach exam rooms sobbing since there are brilliant solutions and strategies to deal with exam anxiety. Such as? Keep on reading to discover Superprof's top 10 strategies of coping with exam stress; we got you covered dear students!
Have a Study Schedule
Time management makes all the difference when trying to study and reduce anxiety efficiently. By planning and creating a schedule with your classes, social activities, and work periods, you will fill all the extra spots with study sessions that cannot be replaced with less important leisure activities.
Also, by seeing your study schedule on a piece of paper, you know what needs to be done and will feel bad if you don't fully commit.
Make a priority list of topics that need to be studied and for how long each week. The importance of a study schedule cannot be stressed enough since you will feel in control of your life and less stressed about future examinations.
Find a Study Buddy
When I asked one of my best friends who is currently studying at Uni what he does to reduce stress, the first thing that came to his mind was a study buddy. Is he wrong? Definitely not! The idea of a partner in crime from your program where there is mutual support is brilliant since you can help them with your strong points, and they can help you with your weak points.
Having a study partner can be likened to a lifeline that keeps you afloat during stressful periods.
It is important to mention that a study buddy is much better than a study group since a group can quickly get out of hand and contribute to causing more anxiety than previously anticipated.
Revise Only the Important Points
For every Uni class, there is unique information, a lot of study notes, and plenty of textbooks; all of this makes the review process very stressful and overwhelming. How can a downward spiral of anxious thoughts be avoided? By only focusing on the main points, the important stuff.
It doesn't take long to recognise during lectures and by studying textbooks which points are more important than others; your professor might even tell your specific things to study! Therefore, pay attention to what is important, don't sweat the small stuff and focus on the big picture. By doing this, you will avoid the possibility of being overwhelmed, which causes a lot of anxiety.
Practice Previous Exam Questions
By reviewing the questions and your answers of past exams, you slowly start to remember what you did wrong and how you can fix your mistakes and train of thought during the upcoming examinations. Practising past exam questions reduces stress and anxiety for many reasons. Such as? The following are a few reasons:
- You recognise your teacher's style and anticipate what might be featured on imminent exams,
- You develop a healthy attitude toward past mistakes since you work toward correct your understanding,
- You put yourself in examination mode and realise that it's not the end of the world!
We aren't robots created with a purpose or programmed to complete specific tasks; therefore, we need to have fun to let loose and not get so worked up about upcoming exams.
And, although the material to review on your desk seems endless, you should not push yourself beyond your limits to achieve the impossible since exhaustion will only cause more frustration and prevent you from retaining key concepts. So, when feeling slightly anxious, take a break and do something that you actually enjoy, such as listening to music, taking a walk, calling a friend, etc.
It's proven that breaks don't have to be too long to reset the brain and reduce anxiety, a short ten minutes usually suffices.
Turn Off Your Phone While Studying
Did you know that everyday items such as your phone can be your worst enemy when studying for exams? We're sure that you probably did, but it's sometimes fun to reiterate to cause a little drama!
While a cellphone serves many purposes that we cannot live without, they are extremely distracting when studying for exams and cause us to lose valuable time which later makes us anxious since we realise how far behind we are in reviewing valuable information.
So, to feel like your not missing out on fun events around campus which will get you distracted, turn off your phone and put it away. You won't regret it when you are ahead of your study schedule and feeling as fresh as a daisy!
Hit the Gym
The benefits and positive advantages of exercise cannot be stressed enough, and it doesn't matter if you're a senior or a teenager. It's a simple, straightforward, and irrefutable fact that those who enjoy an active lifestyle will live longer and be happier.
Therefore, to reduce the anxiety of impending exams, and look fad during summer months at the beach, hit the gym a couple of times of the week.
You'll feel a lot less anxious, and since you'll be in tip-top shape, your body will not feel the aching pains of sitting down for most of the day studying, and you'll have stronger defences for flu season; nothing provokes more stress than feeling unwell during exam periods.
Go to Bed and Get Some Sleep
Although it seems unreasonable to suggest that an insanely busy student with a full course load should chill and get some sleep, a good night's sleep is essential for surviving Uni or college.
Students, please listen to this next part: it's illogical to expect being in good shape the next day for classes and upcoming exams if you pulled an all-nighter studying.
Just one sleepless night during the week can drastically affect your sleep schedule, mood, and stress levels for the next few days. So, listen to the experts and try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. You'll thank us come examination time when you feel well-rested and stress-free!
Have a Dedicated Study Area
Whether it's your favourite table at the campus library, a secret nook at local cafe, or your dorm room desk, having a dedicated study space dramatically increases productivity which reduces stress at the same time; win-win!
Also, it's important to mention that having a repeat study area that suits your unique needs is a huge plus. So, try to find out what you like and determine if you need a little background music, the sound of others speaking near you, or a quiet room with absolutely no noise. We're all different so the choice is up to you and there is no wrong answer!
It has been proven that when studying in the same space, you will more easily remember the last information acquired in your review zone.
Talk to a Tutor or a Trusted Teacher
Although Uni professors and teaching aids are notoriously busy with rarely any space in their schedule to meet with students, be adaptable and try to get at least a few minutes before an important exam to ask the teacher and make sure that you understand the material that will be covered.
How does that help? Well, it greatly reduces anxious thoughts since you will know what strategy to adopt and how to prepare effectively. Also, by letting your teacher know that you are feeling anxious, they might have sympathy for you and suggest some tips and tricks cope with stress and ensure success.
But, what if none of your professors has the time to meet with you? Well, hire a private tutor! Personal tutors are qualified individuals who well know the stresses and anxieties faced before an examination. The expertise that tutors possess and the advice they provide to stressed-out Uni students equips all with review techniques and unique study methods.
Hire a Superprof tutor today for an affordable price and at a time and place most convenient for you to talk about solutions to reducing stress and getting fantastic marks on final exams.
In conclusion, it is important to keep in mind that feeling a little bit of nervousness before an exam is normal and actually improves concentration and attentiveness. Nevertheless, we sincerely hope that the advice provided in today's article will help reduce the majority of significant disquieting thoughts that are experienced before assessments. Stay strong; you've got this!
What about using flashcards? Does that help ones study? Click this link to find out more!
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