Coping with exam stress and nerves - part 1 revision
At this time of year many young people and adults are revising for and sitting exams. Whether it is your seven year old worried about their SATs right up to university finals and beyond, this can be a stressful period for all. Here are some tips to help:
There are a variety of hurdles to overcome during revision period, including motivation, style and memorisation. These are three top things that can stand in the way and how to tackle them:
Often we dread the idea of someone judging and testing us, imagining the worst and filling our minds with worry. Let that go, it will only hamper your chances. Think instead about this being your chance to show off and shine. You’ve understood the work throughout the year. Here is your opportunity to refresh that knowledge and fill in any gaps. If there was something you didn’t quite understand the first time, reach out and ask for clarification, rather than struggling to decipher it yourself.
If you didn’t do the work in class, this is your opportunity to gain as much knowledge as you can before the big day. Forget about trying to ignore it is coming by avoiding the revision. Think of it instead as your chance to see just how much you can learn in a short space of time. Beat them at their own game and get on to it now. It is your best chance to come out on top.
Make sure you are revising in a way that suits you. Prioritise the things that need more work. Think of it as a short term project with a deadline. Get tested regularly. Write out a timetable and work to it. If it isn’t working, be realistic and amend it. If you want to go out and sit in the sunshine to revise, do it. If writing headlines down on different colour post-it notes work or drawing pictures of key figures and making notes under them, do it. If reading aloud and recording your subject, then listening to it in a relaxed focused state whilst lying in the park works for you, then do it! There is no one right way. Make it into a quiz for yourself and maybe classmates. Keep the lines of communication open. Think about the solution to an issue rather than worry about what can go wrong. You need to own this opportunity to recap and make the best of it.
Have a think about how you remember things with greatest ease. For some it is reading out loud and listening, for others it will be remembering images or the words on a page and for some it will be more about using the imagination and filling ideas with life and feeling. Think about what works for you most naturally - if you don’t know, test it out.
Always break the information down into bite-sized chunks. Section things off and stop when you get there, then recap and see if you can boil the concept down further, so that you can create small hooks to bring the information back up to the surface easily.
Get yourself into a positive relaxed state before you begin to work and always have a break or stop when you are tired. A tired brain remembers very little. You need to think of yourself as a dynamic and highly focused performer who needs to be in the optimum condition to work. Make sure you reward yourself when you reach a revision milestone. Relaxation and laughter are best.
Lastly, the more positive, focused and relaxed you can be on exam day, the more you will recall.
Part two - managing stress and nerves before an exam, coming soon!
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About Rachel Coffey
Rachel is a top life and voice coach who works in a mindful and intuitive way, supporting her clients through their journey of positive change. Working from her riverside base in Chelsea and the beautiful Gazelli House, she uses an innovative approach, to allow her international clientele the space to create real and lasting change.