Exams are one of the important aspects of education that often make students experience stress. To deal with anxiety during this stressful evaluation, try to calm your mind and understand how to handle stressful situations well. The stress of exams usually only comes to mind, and mental discipline is the main factor you need to succeed.
Part 1 of 4: Preparing for the Exam
Step 1. Know the material you need to study
Try to figure out what material you need to study by reading the syllabus or asking the teacher. If you can predict the questions that will arise, you will feel calmer and better prepared for the exam.
- If you are still confused, ask the teacher. Instead of letting students take the exam unprepared, teachers will prefer to answer questions.
- Before asking, first read the syllabus and information that has been given to students. He will be annoyed if you send an email just to ask about the exam schedule, even though it is explained on the first page of the syllabus.
Step 2. Study in a similar situation to the exam room
There is a psychological phenomenon called “context based memory”. This idea says that we are able to remember very well when we are in the same situation as when we receive information. Another related phenomenon is “physical memory” which means that our memory will be better if we learn and receive information physically. the same one.
- If you are taking an exam in a quiet room, simulate the situation as you study. This means that you enable “context based memory”.
- An example of "memory based on physical condition": if you consume caffeine while studying, your memory will be better on test day if you consume the same amount of caffeine. Leverage this knowledge as a proven way to maximize test scores. Keep that in mind if you experience stress during an exam.
Step 3. Record the material taught in class
Don't just rely on memory or textbooks. Take advantage of class time by briefly taking notes on your teacher's explanations. If you get stressed before an exam, reread your notes as they can remind you of things that happened in class. Even if you don't take notes completely, it will make you feel like you have mastered the material to be studied.
- Note down key words and important ideas only, not word for word. Understanding the main idea is more important than writing down the entire material completely.
- Reread your notes once a week to learn the material that was taught and store it in long-term memory. You will feel much better prepared when it comes to taking the exam.
Step 4. Manage your time wisely
Don't force yourself to study until you have to stay up late because you will experience stress when taking the exam. Make a schedule so you can study for a few days or even weeks in advance. You can memorize more material if you study little by little over a longer period of time, for example over a few days or a few weeks.
Since your physical condition can affect your memory, adjust your study time to your exam time so that you will be as tired/awake as you study and take exams. This way, you will be familiar with the material that is asked in the exam
Step 5. Determine the most appropriate place to study
Consider several things so that you have a comfortable and quiet place to study, for example:
- Adjust the level of lighting in the room. There are students who study better in a bright place, but there are also those who prefer to study in a slightly dim room.
- Determine the condition of the study room. Do you prefer to study in a slightly messy place or in a neat and clean room?
- Pay attention to the sound around you. Do you find it easier to concentrate while listening to music or in a quiet environment?
- Look for alternative places to study, such as the library or coffee shop. Changes in atmosphere make it easier for you to memorize the subject matter.
Step 6. Take a break every now and then
Research in the field of psychology shows that the human brain is only able to focus on one task effectively for approximately 45 minutes. In addition, scientific research in the field of neuroscience shows that focusing on the same thing for too long makes our brains unable to work accurately.
Step 7. Keep your body hydrated
Get in the habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. Lack of water makes you feel weak and stressed.
- Caffeine makes you feel anxious, thereby triggering stress and anxiety. Drink a cup of coffee or cola, but not too much. Experts recommend that adults limit caffeine consumption to a maximum of 400 mg per day. Young children and teens should limit their caffeine consumption to 100 mg per day (a cup of coffee or 3 cups of cola).
- A cup of herbal teas makes you feel more relaxed and stays hydrated, such as teas containing peppermint, chamomile, and passionflower.
Step 8. Appreciate your achievements, even if they are small things
If you experience stress during an exam, reward yourself for studying. This way motivates you to keep learning and can reduce stress.
For example, after studying for 1 hour, take a break while browsing the internet for 20 minutes or enjoy your favorite TV show. This will free your mind from the exam and be a source of motivation that will make you want to go back to studying after a break
Step 9. Exercise
Regular aerobic exercise can reduce stress. So, if you're feeling tense about an exam, take time to run or work out at the gym.
- While exercising, listen to uplifting music to keep you motivated during your workout.
- For other ways to deal with stress, read the wikiHow article “How to Study for Final Exams.”
Step 10. Eat a healthy diet
Eating unhealthy foods makes you feel negative and thus hinders test preparation. Therefore, adopt a healthy diet if you want to succeed in exams and be stress free.
- Eat lean meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
- Do not consume sugar or processed foods in excess.
- One of the most important aspects of adopting a healthy diet is having a balanced diet. Don't just eat one type of food. Vary your diet every two nights.
Step 11. Get used to getting enough sleep
Lack of sleep at night can cause fatigue, stress, and anxiety.
- If you can't sleep, try to make your bedroom completely dark and avoid any outside noise by wearing earplugs.
- Make a sleep schedule and do it every night. Record how many hours you have to sleep at night so that you wake up in the morning refreshed and get into the habit of going to bed at night when you need it.
- For example, if you usually go to bed at 10:30 p.m. and then read a book for 30 minutes before going to bed, stick to that schedule on a regular basis. This method will train your body so that it is easier to fall asleep.
- Read the wikiHow “How to Study for Exams” for more advice on taking exams.
Step 12. Ask yourself if you have a learning disorder
This could be due to ADHD or another disorder that is hindering your ability to take exams. This condition can be stressful, but schools usually provide help to help you succeed in your studies.
If you experience these problems, consult a counselor or teacher at your school for further assistance
Part 2 of 4: Coping With Exam Day Stress
Step 1. Eat an adequate breakfast before the test
A poor breakfast makes you quickly run out of energy so you feel stressed, anxious, and tired. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast that provides long-lasting energy, such as eggs and whole grain bread. Do not eat foods that contain a lot of sugar because sugar is only a temporary source of energy, but it makes you sleepy while doing exam questions.
Step 2. Keep your body hydrated
Lack of fluids will inhibit the work of the brain. Make sure you drink enough water before taking the test. Drink water when you eat breakfast!
If allowed, bring bottled water into the exam room. Thinking is a thirsty job! Don't be surprised if your teacher checks the water bottle because some students try to make a cheat sheet by writing the answer on the bottle label. Don't do this because cheating is useless. If you get caught, you'll be in bigger trouble than getting a bad grade
Step 3. Watch the amount of caffeine you consume
While it may be tempting, don't drink too much caffeine before the test as it can increase anxiety and stress. If you tend to experience stress during exams, caffeine will only make it worse and harder to control.
- However, don't drastically change your caffeine intake on test day. This creates another problem because stopping suddenly can be stressful and lead to very negative feelings.
- A certain amount of caffeine has a positive impact on memory, so if you're used to drinking a cup of coffee with breakfast, drink it!
Step 4. Arrive early
Exams are enough to make you anxious, so don't add to the stress of being late. In addition, by arriving early, you can choose a seat that you like.
Step 5. Read the instructions carefully
Before you start answering questions, know exactly what you need to do. Open the question sheet to view its contents and get an idea of how long it will take you to answer each question. Uncertainty can trigger stress. Relieve stress by knowing how long the exam will last.
Part 3 of 4: Coping With Stress During Exams
Step 1. Don't rush to answer questions
Do the exam questions calmly. If there's a question you can't answer, instead of feeling stressed, remember that it's only one of the questions on the exam. If allowed (if the exam questions do not need to be answered in sequence), leave the question first to answer another question and then come back to answer it if there is still time.
Watch the time by looking at the clock so you can check your answers for 5-10 minutes to see if there are any mistakes or guess the answers to questions you missed
Step 2. Chew candy, if allowed
Chewing candy keeps your mouth busy and helps relieve anxiety.
Step 3. Ask the teacher if you can't answer
Asking for an explanation is not something wrong. Your question may or may not be answered because it would be unfair to the other students, but you only lose a few seconds to raise your hand and ask.
Step 4. Find out if you are feeling anxious about the exam
If you are experiencing anxiety, try to overcome it by using some or all of the methods described below. Anxiety due to exams can be identified by the following symptoms:
- dry mouth
- Faster heart rate
- Mind raging
- Mental stress
- Difficult to concentrate
Step 5. Remember to take deep breaths
While closing your eyes, take a deep breath, hold your breath for a moment, exhale deeply and then repeat this breathing technique 3 times. Conscious deep breathing relaxes the body and increases the flow of oxygen to the brain. Use these breathing techniques before and when answering difficult questions.
Inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 2 then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4
Step 6. Relax and contract the muscles
For example, tighten your shoulders and then relax them slowly. Repeat the technique for the part of the body that feels tense. Tightening the muscles and then relaxing them is a way to increase body awareness during relaxation so that the body will be more relaxed.
Step 7. Rest if needed
If allowed, get up from your seat, drink water, go to the restroom, or stretch your legs so you can refocus and reduce anxiety.
Step 8. Look at the exam the right way
Keep in mind that in the long run, poor test scores don't make much of an impact. We tend to overthink bad things and disappointments. Keep that in mind if you experience stress while taking an exam. If you fail, this is not the end of everything. Life will go on and you can study better to take the exam again!
- If you keep thinking negative thoughts, try to stop them. Ask yourself: what is the worst thing that will happen if I fail? Try to answer it logically. Can you cope with the worst that will happen? Maybe you will answer "yes".
- Think of another way if you keep worrying about how important this exam is. You still have the opportunity to take another test, improve your score by taking extra credits, take a course, or study with a friend for the next exam. The world hasn't ended yet, so keep trying!
Part 4 of 4: Coping With Stress After Exams
Step 1. Don't dwell on the exam
While this is easier said than done, remember that once the exam is over, you can't change what happened. So don't ask your friends what their answer will be if this just triggers stress. So that you don't continue to think about bad things or get caught in a cycle of negative thoughts, take the following suggestions:
- Forget the things you have no control over. Ask yourself, “Can I still change my current test answer?” If the answer is “no”, try to forget about it.
- View mistakes as learning opportunities. With this perspective, wrongly answering exam questions is not something to regret.
- Make a schedule for worrying. Set aside 30 minutes to let go of worrying. Think about the things that stress you out and after 30 minutes have passed, forget all your worries.
- Exercising is a way of forgetting past exams.
- Read the wikiHow article “How to Pass Exams” to learn how to deal with stress after exams.
Step 2. Rest
Free your mind from exams by doing things you enjoy. Choose an activity that makes you lose track of time.
For example, do activities that are your hobbies, such as watching movies, reading books, or exercising
Step 3. Give yourself a gift
Buy pizza, sushi, candy, a new shirt, or anything you like to please yourself for some time. Exams can be overwhelming, but you've finished them. Now, relax for a moment with what you love and then prepare for the next test!
Step 4. Think of this incident as a lesson
Learn from your mistakes and remember that the ultimate goal of taking an exam is to find out how well you understand a certain topic. This method helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses in understanding the lesson.
- Instead of feeling pressured by unsatisfactory test results information, take this as an opportunity to get proper feedback on your knowledge and use it to improve yourself.
- Remember that test scores don't determine your self-worth. Even if your grades are not good, you are still a good student.
- Don't compare yourself to others. There are students who are born with good learning abilities. Instead of competing with others, the best person for you to compete with is yourself.
- If you can't relax, learn relaxation and meditation techniques that are widely used to deal with stress due to exams or everyday life.